Five new polio cases reported, toll mounts to 58

  • The children have zero histories of essential immunisation against the virus
  • Three cases were reported in KP, two in Sindh

ISLAMABAD: Three days after Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates expressed concerned over the rise of polio cases in Pakistan, five new cases have emerged in the country, taking the total number to 58 in 2019 whereas the total count of polio cases in KP alone stands at 44 now.

According to reports on Sunday, three cases were reported in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) whereas two were reported in Sindh. In KP, the cases were reported in Hangu, North Waziristan and Bannu, whereas in Sindh the cases were reported in Hyderabad.

According to the details, one wild poliovirus has been isolated from a stool sample of 18 months old girl, resident of Mainij Khel UC Dallan, Tehsil Thal, District Hangu.

Likewise, two new polio cases have been notified from Bannu Division one each from Bannu district and North Waziristan.

The laboratory has confirmed poliovirus in the 30 months old boy, resident of Dinor, Tehsil Miralai, District North Waziristan and 18 months female from Tehsil Wazir District Bannu.

 None of the children have a history of dose for essential immunisation and are undernourished as well.

According to a report last week, more than 25 cases had surfaced in KP alone, mostly in Bannu division which remains highly-affected by the virus.

Bannu had recorded 11 cases and North Waziristan six, followed by Torghar with three and one each from DI Khan, Hangu, Lakki Marwat, Shangla, Bajaur and Khyber Agency.

The reason for a recent spike in such incidents is attributed to anti-vaccination propaganda in the province.

Emergency Operations Center (EOC) Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Coordinator Kamran Afridi on Friday said that approximately 0.7 million children couldn’t get the vaccination in KP due to refusal from their parents or guardians.

“Refusal and fake marking of children are the major reasons for the increasing number of cases reported in Pakistan. Vaccination is essential for us to safeguard the future of our children and every Pakistani has to play their part in this mission,” read a statement issued on the latest polio immunisation campaign.

Earlier on August 19, Prime Minister Imran Khan while taking notice of a sharp rise in polio cases in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, had called an urgent meeting to review measures so far taken to eliminate the crippling disease.