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January 23, 2020

Seven-month-old becomes Sindh’s first polio victim of 2020

Karachi

January 23, 2020

A seven-month-old girl from the union council of Chambar in Tando Allahyar town of Sindh has become the first reported victim of polio in Sindh and second in the country in 2020, said anti-polio officials on Wednesday.

“Seven-month old Komal Ayaz has been crippled by the Wild Polio Virus 1 (WPV1) in the UC Chambar of District Tando Allahyar in Sindh. It is the first polio case of the year 2020 in Sindh and second in the country,” an official of the Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) for Polio in Sindh said on Wednesday.

A day earlier, officials had confirmed Pakistan’s first polio case of 2020 from the Serai Naurang area of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa’s Lakki Marwat district as the national case count for 2019 closed at 137. A 12-month-old male child from Bakhmal Ahmadzai union council, Serai Naurang in Lakki Marwat was reported to be the country’s first polio victim in 2020.

Officials of EOC Sindh said the date of polio onset of the seven-month-old girl from Tando Allahyar was January 7, 2020, and added that her right lower limb has been affected. The infant belongs to a poor family and is the daughter of a labourer.

The girl had reportedly received three doses of anti-polio vaccine during campaign and routine immunization; however, an investigation will be made to confirm this.

An EOC Sindh spokesperson said the long gap in door-to-door campaigns during 2019 had created a large pool of vulnerable children. He added that the situation could be turned around with regular campaigns.

The National EOC and Sindh EOC have started to make efforts to reverse the trend of polio cases. The first step was the successful national immunisation days (NIDs) in December and now areas with recent detections are being targeted in a special response round that started on January 12. It will be followed by two NIDs in February and April with another targeted case response in between.

The spokesperson maintained that the efforts from December 2019 till April 2020 would bridge the immunity gap that would lead to a significant decrease in the intensity of virus transmission in the second half of 2020.

The National EOC and Sindh EOC have also urged the parents to ensure immunisation of their children both in the routine as well as special campaigns during the next few months.