Islamabad, February 11, 2024 – Two environmental samples taken from Sibi district in Balochistan and Peshawar district in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa tested positive for wild poliovirus type 1.
The virus was isolated from a sewage sample collected in Sibi on January 15 and another sample collected in Peshawar on January 22, the NIH's Regional Reference Laboratory for Polio Eradication informed, and both samples It added that the YB3A cluster was imported into Japan.
Federal Health Minister Dr. Nadeem Yang said the continued detection of the imported virus is of great concern and the polio eradication program is developing a comprehensive plan to stop its spread. .
“Following the first national vaccination drive of 2024 in January, we will once again launch a national vaccination drive to protect against polio, vaccinating more than 45 million children under five from February 26. We are planning to carry out a polio campaign,” said Dr Jang.
Health Secretary Iftikhar Ali Shalwani urged parents and communities to understand the threat of poliovirus, saying this opportunistic virus targets vulnerable children regardless of which side of the border they are on. said.
Additionally, “communities and families play a major role in protecting children from this paralyzing disease. Refusing to vaccinate can put a child at risk of lifelong paralysis from polio. Polio If you hear workers knocking on your door, be sure to get your child vaccinated.”
Dr. Shahzad Baig, Coordinator of the National Emergency Action Center for Polio Eradication, said that following the detection of multiple polioviruses in the environment, the polio program has once again expanded the national polio program to boost children's immunity. He said he was planning a polio campaign.
“The oral polio vaccine most effectively prevents this disease. That is why we will run several campaigns in 2024 to ensure that all children under the age of five receive multiple doses and stay safe from polio.” That's the plan,” he said.
So far this year, no cases of polio have been detected in Pakistan, but 30 environmental samples have tested positive for the virus.
Note for editors:
Polio is a highly contagious disease caused by the poliovirus that primarily affects children under the age of five. It can invade the nervous system and cause paralysis and death. Although there is no cure for polio, vaccination is the most effective way to protect children from this devastating disease. Every time a child under the age of 5 is vaccinated, they increase their protection against viruses. Repeated vaccinations have protected millions of children from polio and made polio eradication possible in nearly every country in the world except two endemic countries: Pakistan and Afghanistan.
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