Punjab probes its first polio case of 2015


Following the lab confirmation of Punjab’s first polio case of 2015, a team of experts, led by Punjab’s Director Expanded Program on Immunisation Dr Munir Ahmed, visited Lehr Sultan Pura area in Chakwal on Friday.

The team, which included experts from the World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, found out that six-year-old Farhan was on his way to recovery after receiving more than 10 dozes of immunisation.

Farhan was diagnosed with arthritis initially and as a potential polio case, his samples were collected for lab tests. The lab test confirmed presence of polio virus, but found that due to necessary immunisation dozes, it did not cause fatal ailments.

This also showed that virus circulation was present in the environment and posed an imminent danger to other children with weak immunity.

Dr Munir Ahmed said that the coverage of the Lehr Sultan Pura union council in the last immunization drive was found to be above 90 per cent, but due to presence of the virus, a strong case response in Chakwal and adjacent areas would be conducted.

The team found that the area was host to sizeable migrant population from Swat, Mardan, Qila Abdullah in Balochistan and other polio reservoir areas in the country, whereas the movement of the population from these areas was a continuous challenge.

So far Pakistan has had 38 cases in 2015, with this case being Punjab’s first case which highlights the challenges the country faces in polio eradication. Out of a total of 306 cases in 2014, Punjab accounts for just four cases.