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Four more polio cases found in Punjab, KP

ISLAMABAD: Four more polio cases have been re­­ported, two each from Pun­jab and Khyber Pakhtun­­khwa, taking the tally for the current year to 45.

An official of the National Institute of Health’s (NIH) Polio Virology Laboratory, requesting anonymity, said that cases were reported from Lahore, Jhelum, Bannu and Lakki Marwat.

“In Lahore nine-month-old boy, in Jhelum four-year-old girl, in Bannu six-month-old boy and in Lakki Marwat 12-month-old girl have been confirmed with virus of the crippling disease. Samples of the stool were received last month but were confirmed on Sunday as incubation period of virus is around three weeks,” he said.

It is worth mentioning that during the current year 45 polio cases have been confirmed as compared to 12 in 2018 and only eight in 2017.

When contacted, Prime Minister’s Focal Person on Polio Eradication Babar Bin Atta confirmed that four more children were infected with the virus of the crippling disease.

“However, there are some positive things which have been gathered. The four-year-old girl from Jhelum was suffered by a stroke due to which her immunity level had gone down. The girl was paralysed due to the stroke. As the poliovirus was found in her sample she had been declared a case of polio. However, it shows that the girl was attacked by the virus because her immunity level had gone down. Second thing is that it shows that our surveillance level is very high,” he said.

“As far as the nine-month-old boy from Lahore is concerned, he is not paralysed, although the poliovirus was confirmed in his sample. It shows that the immunity level of the child was very high due to which he was not paralysed,” he said.

Mr Babar claimed that investigations into the cases from Bannu and Lakki Marwat revealed that the children did not receive polio drops. Their parents used to mark their children’s fingers with markers on the first day of polio campaigns held in their areas to dodge vaccinators that their children had already been vaccinated, he added.

It is pertinent to mention that during the current year as many as 35 polio cases have been reported from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and its tribal districts, five from Punjab, three from Sindh and two cases from Balochistan.

Polio is a highly infectious disease caused by poliovirus mainly affecting children under the age of five. It invades the nervous system, and can cause paralysis or even death. While there is no cure for polio, vaccination is the most effective way to protect children from this crippling disease. Each time a child under the age of five is vaccinated, their protection against the virus is increased. Repeated immunisations have protected millions of children from polio, allowing almost all countries in the world to become polio free.

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