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Four polio cases reported from KP, Balochistan

By Ikram Junaidi 2019-07-09
ISLAMABAD: Four new cases of polio have been reported from Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) provinces.

The total number of cases, for the year 2019, has reached 41 as compared to 12 in 2018 and only eight in 2017.

According to a statement issued by the National Emergency Operation Centre (NEOC) on Monday, cases from Balochistan were reported from Jaffarabad and Killa Abdullah districts.

Both cases from KP were reportedfromBannudistrict.

In all cases it was observed that the parents had refused to vaccinate their children.

An official of the Polio Virology Laboratory, requesting not to be quoted, said that from Bannu a 30-monthold boy and a 12-year-old were infected with the virus.

In Balochistan, an eightmonth-old boy from the Gandakha area of Jaffarabad district and a ninemonth-old boy from Janu Kahol in Killa Abdullah district became victim of the crippling disease, he said.

`In all four fresh reported polio cases, routine immunisation was zero and also predominant parental refusal was found to be common among the polio victims,` he said.

The statement said: `The identification of new cases is yet another reminder that as long as the poliovirus exists anywhere in the country, nochildissafefrombeinginfected.

`Fortunately, children who are vaccinated against polio multiple times are able to fight the virus back. The more doses of the polio vaccine a child receives, the higherthe chances of escaping lifelong paralysis,` the statement added.

It is pertinent to mention that during current year as many as 33 polio cases are reported from KP and its tribal districts, three cases from Punjab, three cases from Sindh and two cases have been reported from Balochistan.

According to the Emergency Operation Centre, of the 33 cases in KP province, 16 were reported from Bannu, six from North Waziristan and one from L akki Marwat.

Prime Minister`s Focal Person on Polio Eradication Babar Bin Attasaid: `The next door-to-door polio vaccination campaign in selected districts will be in the month of July and August. He appealed to parents, religious leaders and other stakeholders to convince people to vaccinate their children, so that the virus has nowhere to go.

EOC`s provincial coordinator Kamran Ahmed Afridi said that a campaign targeting high-risk areas in Bannu would begin from July 15 to 18. The drive would cover Mardan, Malakand and Hazara divisions as well, he added.

`We carried out an immunisationdrive last month in Bannu but samples from the children who tested positive today had been taken before that, which shows the campaign was spot on,` he said.

In view of the outbreak in Bannu division, the coordinator said that they had recently merged all immunisation campaigns under the EOC to ensure smooth administrative and technical coordination for vaccination of the target population.

Ashfaq Yusufzai from Peshawar and Saleem Shahid from Quetta also contributed to this report