Polio is still endemic in Pakistan, North Waziristan’s new case makes count to 18 this year

North Waziristan’s three-month child was found paralyzed by wild poliovirus

Pakistan is one of the two remaining countries in the world where poliomyelitis (polio) is still categorized as an endemic viral infection, the other one being Afghanistan.

A new case of poliovirus has been found in North Waziristan after a three-month-old child was found paralyzed by the wild poliovirus. The new case has made the total number of cases during the year to 18.

During the previous week one positive environment was found in Bakhtawar Goth, Landhi’s sewage line, Karachi was the 17 reported case of the virus in Pakistan during the year 2022.

The virus multiplies in the intestine for weeks and could spread through faeces or contaminated food or water.

During the last week, National Polio Laboratory said that it detected type-1 wild poliovirus from the environmental samples collected from different areas across the country of which Bannu, Peshawar, Lahore and Swat were found with polio virus contamination.

So far, the Wild poliovirus has taken the life of one child in Pakistan due to disease complications whereas 17 children have been reported crippled. This new case in North Waziristan makes the number of polio virus-affected children 18.

According to NHS’s earlier reports, all the cases of children being crippled due to the virus were reported in North Waziristan and Laki Marwat, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP). A total of 10 positive environmental samples were detected in August of which five were from Punjab and five were from KP.

According to NHS officials, the total positive samples during the ongoing year have reached 21. Seven of them were detected in Bannu, three from Peshawar and Lahore each, two from Swat and Rawalpindi each and one sample each from Nowshehra, Bahawalpur, Sialkot and Islamabad.

NHS data has also shown that one positive sample was detected in April, two in May, one in June and 10 in August. A total of 65 samples were detected in the previous year.

While polio cases have declined globally by 99% since 1998, complex challenges in these countries are preventing the total eradication of the disease.