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Thursday July 25, 2024

Poliovirus diagnosed in toddler from Balochistan

This is the fifth poliovirus case from the province in 2024, while one has been reported from Sindh

By M Waqar Bhatti & Rashid Saeed
June 25, 2024
A boy receives polio vaccine drops during an anti-polio campaign in a low-income neighborhood in Karachi, Pakistan, on April 9, 2018. — Reuters
A boy receives polio vaccine drops during an anti-polio campaign in a low-income neighborhood in Karachi, Pakistan, on April 9, 2018. — Reuters

QUETTA: An 18-month-old toddler from Balochistan's Qilla Abdullah district was Tuesday diagnosed with poliovirus, the provincial health department told Geo News.

According to the Balochistan's health department, this is the fifth poliovirus case from the province.

The number of the virus's cases from Pakistan in 2024 stand at six with five from the country's southern-west province and one from Sindh.

Meanwhile, it was the second such case reported from the Qilla Abdullah district.

Earlier, cases of the virus from the province were also reported from Dera Bugti, Chaman, and Quetta.

According to the technical summary of the case, the child had a high grade fever on June 1, 2024, and developed weakness in the right leg on June 3, 2024, as per the parents.

It added that the onset was sudden and progressed quickly.

The report mentioned that the child was taken to local healthcare providers and notified at Al-Khair private hospital in Quetta on June 8, 2024, after which the case was investigated and classified as urgent based on clinical findings on June 9.

"The child has not received any OPV doses in SIAs or RI, except for the birth dose of OPV and BCG (with scar present). There is no history of any intramuscular injection in the last 24 hours prior to the onset of paralysis," the report stated, adding that there was no travel history of the child prior to the onset of paralysis.

PM Shehbaz resolute to end poliovirus

A day earlier, the National Task Force on Polio Eradication had expressed the resolve to employ all resources to eliminate polio from Pakistan, which was headed by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif in Islamabad.

Chair of Gates Foundation Bill Gates together with President Global Development Dr Chris Elias, President Gender Equality and Michael Galway Dr Anita Zaidi, Deputy Director of Polio Eradication of the Gates Foundation along with partner organizations of Rotary, UNICEF, World Health Oorganisation and Centre for Disease Control attended the meeting.

During the meeting, the premier resolved that as long as the virus continues to circulate and paralyse children, our efforts would continue with full force.

He directed all stakeholders to ensure that every child in Pakistan receives multiple doses of the vaccine and is protected against polio, emphasising that provinces should lead polio eradication efforts in their regions with a sense of urgency to interrupt wild poliovirus transmission this year.

Gates, in his remarks, said his foundation will continue to extend support to Pakistan for polio eradication. He emphasised on the importance of obtaining maximum vaccination coverage during polio vaccination campaigns.

The meeting was also briefed about the challenges in implementing successive polio drives in several areas, particularly in security-compromised areas and some parts of Balochistan.