Baby dies due to poliovirus as Pakistan seems failing to contain the crippling disease

Pakistan and Afghanistan are the only countries where polio, which in severe cases can be fatal or leave patients paralysed, remains endemic

September 16, 2022 07:21 pm | Updated 07:21 pm IST - Islamabad

FILE - This 2014 illustration made available by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention depicts a polio virus particle. The polio virus has been found in New York City’s wastewater in another sign that the disease, which hadn’t been seen in the U.S. in a decade, is quietly spreading among unvaccinated people, health officials said Friday, Aug. 12, 2022. (Sarah Poser, Meredith Boyter Newlove/CDC via AP, File)

FILE - This 2014 illustration made available by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention depicts a polio virus particle. The polio virus has been found in New York City’s wastewater in another sign that the disease, which hadn’t been seen in the U.S. in a decade, is quietly spreading among unvaccinated people, health officials said Friday, Aug. 12, 2022. (Sarah Poser, Meredith Boyter Newlove/CDC via AP, File)

A six-month-old baby died recently due to poliovirus in Pakistan, officials said here on Friday, as the country's effort to defeat the crippling disease seems to be failing.

The baby boy was from the South Waziristan tribal district in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, the health ministry said in a statement, adding that he had onset of paralysis in August.

A total of 19 cases of poliovirus has been detected so far this year in Pakistan.

All the cases were reported from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province – two in Lakki Marwat, 16 in North Waziristan, and one in South Waziristan districts.

The health ministry said combating the outbreak of polio in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa is the main focus of the Pakistan Polio Programme.

Pakistan and Afghanistan are the only countries where polio, which in severe cases can be fatal or leave patients paralysed, remains endemic.

Attempts to eradicate the crippling disease in Pakistan have been seriously hampered by deadly targeting of vaccination teams in recent years by militants, who oppose the drives, claiming that the polio drops cause infertility.

Meanwhile, Health Minister Abdul Qadir Patel in a statement said that en mass displacement of people due to floods is posing a threat of spread of poliovirus.

“This mass displacement will lead to the spread of poliovirus. So it is very important to vaccinate children against polio," he said.

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