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June 27, 2020

New polio case detected in Rajanpur

National

June 27, 2020

LAHORE: This year’s third case of wild poliovirus (WPV) in Punjab has been confirmed in the Rajanpur district, which raised the toll to 55 in the country. Two cases were earlier detected in another South Punjab district of Dera Ghazi Khan during this year. “The lab has notified a new polio case in Jampur, Rajanpur,” confirmed the Provincial Polio Programme on Friday. It said the child affected with polio virus is 34 months old and his left upper limb and both lower limbs have been affected.

The programme’s spokesman said the programme is in the process of verifying vaccination history of the child. “The status of the number of Supplementary Immunization Activity (SIA) and Routine Immunization (RI) doses is being investigated,” he added.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organization (WHO) has also reported a second case of wild poliovirus in the Dalbadin tehsil, Chaghi district of Balochistan on Friday.

The health authorities in Punjab stated that the outbreak of COVID-19 has posed serious challenges to polio eradication. Polio campaigns are suspended since March, leaving a large chunk of children unimmunized and vulnerable.

In March, April and June, nearly 30 million children in Punjab missed vaccination due to COVID-19. Due to intensive transmission of Type2 and WPV1 virus, more children are at heightened risk of catching the virus. Since January 2019 till date, Punjab has reported 20 Type2 and WPV1 cases. However, sustained presence of wild polio virus in Lahore, Rawalpindi, DG Khan and Multan districts, a huge transit and mobile population, has kept Punjab at risk with polio virus spread.

Also continuous circulation of poliovirus has been reported in some of the districts of central Pakistan epidemiological block, which also includes four districts of South Punjab RY Khan, DG Khan, Rajanpur and Multan. “To interrupt continuous polio transmission and save more children from disabilities, the Punjab polio programme plans to resume the polio eradication campaign from July”, said the Punjab Polio Programme Incharge Sundas Irshad. She emphasized the need for all children to be immunized during every round of immunization campaign days. “Polio vaccine is one of the best available in the world, which has saved millions of lives and people from disability. The transmission of polio virus is high across Pakistan and many children have become paralyzed during last few months. Many of the vaccine preventable diseases are coming back due to falling essential immunization as a result of COVID-19 pandemic. Hence it is essential to carry out vaccination campaigns. Stay safe, get your children vaccinated with the two drops of polio vaccination even during COVID-19,” she said.

With the detection of a new case in Punjab, the total number of polio cases in the country has reached 55 in the current year. As many as 20 cases have been reported in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 18 in Sindh and 14 in Balochistan and three in Punjab.

Previously, a total of two polio cases were confirmed in Punjab among overall 54 cases in 2015; no case was reported in Punjab among a total of 20 cases in 2016; one case was confirmed in Punjab among overall 8 cases in the country in 2017; none was reported in Punjab among 12 cases confirmed in 2018; and 12 cases were reported in Punjab among 147 cases confirmed in the country in 2019. Currently, the polio vaccination campaign is on a halt due to the ongoing COVID-19 situation in Pakistan.