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Monday July 15, 2024

Year’s first polio case reported in Dera Bugti

NHS official said the child developed sudden weakness of both lower limbs with high-grade fever on February 22

By M Waqar Bhatti
March 15, 2024
A health worker administers polio vaccine drops to a child during a door-to-door polio vaccination campaign in Lahore, Pakistan, on May 23, 2022. —AFP/File
A health worker administers polio vaccine drops to a child during a door-to-door polio vaccination campaign in Lahore, Pakistan, on May 23, 2022. —AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s polio eradication efforts suffered another setback after health authorities on Thursday confirmed that a 30-month-old male child was permanently paralysed by the Wild Poliovirus 1 (WPV1) in Dera Bugti district town of Balochistan.

“A 30-month-old male child from UC Sui-3, Village Doodwani Colony, Dera Bugti town of Balochistan, has been affected by the Wild Poliovirus 1. It is Pakistan’s first polio case of the year 2024,” an official of the Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination (NHS,R&C) told The News.

The NHS official said the child developed sudden weakness of both lower limbs with high-grade fever on February 22, 2024 and as the area lacks proper health facilities, the child was taken to a children complex at Rahim Yar Khan, where a pediatrician notified the case and stool sample of the child was sent to the regional reference laboratory at the National Institute of Health (NIH), Islamabad, for confirmation.

“The regional reference laboratory for polio at NIH Islamabad confirmed that the child has been affected by the Wild Poliovirus 1. The genetic sequencing revealed that the isolated virus belongs to genetic cluster YB3A and 99.44 percent linked to an environmental sample collected from Quetta on November 20, 2023,” the official added.

On the whole, Wild Poliovirus 1 (WPV1) was detected in 10 more environmental (sewage) samples collected in February 2024, including five from district Karachi East, and one each from districts Karachi South, Dir Lower, Nasirabad, Quetta and Dera Bugti, the NIH official said.

These new detections take the total number of positive environmental (sewage) samples for WPV1 in Pakistan in 2024 to 56.