ISLAMABAD: Three more cases of poliovirus were reported from Sindh, Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) on Wednesday, taking the total number of cases to six in the current year.
According to officials of the Health Ministry, poliovirus was detected in a 26-month-old child in Jumo Agham Union Council of Sindh’s Ratodero. The blood sample of the child had been collected on December 24, 2019.
In KP, an 11-month-old child was found to be infected with the disease in Tank district. Sources said that the parents of the child had refused the administration of the polio vaccine to the infant.
The third case was reported from Balochistan where a 20-month-old child was diagnosed with the disease in Sikandarabad Union Council of Balochistan’s Dera Murad Jamali. The child had been vaccinated against the disease thrice and their blood sample was collected on January 3, but regardless the child became infected. This was the first polio case in Balochistan during the current year.
On January 11, the United States had generated a level 2 travel alert for Pakistan and other polio-endemic Asian countries following the outbreak of the crippling disease, declaring the life-time booster dose for adults mandatory during the period of restrictions imposed by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
The US had issued new guidelines for travelers bound for polio-endemic countries on the recommendations of its federal agency — Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) — to stop the spread of the virus to other states. “The WHO recommends that these countries require residents and long-term (four weeks or more) visitors show proof of polio vaccination before leaving the country,” level 2 travel alert by the US had read.
It had said that before traveling to these countries, adults who have completed their routine polio vaccine series as children should receive a single, lifetime adult booster dose of polio vaccine.
According to the CDC, polio outbreaks have been reported in eight Asian countries, including Pakistan, Afghanistan, China, Burma, Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea and the Philippines.
Particularly, the WHO had extended travel restrictions on Pakistan following frequent outbreaks of vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2 (cVDPV2) and wild poliovirus type 1 (WP1) cases.
According to the US travel alert 2, the CDC recommends that all travelers to the countries in-question be vaccinated fully against polio.