PESHAWAR: Two more cases of polio have surfaced in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) and the tribal areas. With these, the total number of children infected in 2013 rises to 56, just two less than the figure which loomed over the country in 2012.
The National Institute of Health (NIH) Islamabad confirmed the presence of the crippling disease in two more children on Sunday. The NIH report said the children had not been administered oral polio vaccine (OPV).
Muhammad, an eight-month-old resident of union council Bazid Khel in village Marozai, Peshawar district, was among those infected.
The other case was reported from Mir Ali tehsil of North Waziristan. Thirteen-month-old Alfa is a resident of Ali Khel, Zar Gul Khel village.
Officials familiar with the matter fear this year’s polio count may cross last year’s 58 and there are concerns of a possible travel ban on Pakistan.
Polio originating from the country has been found in Egypt, Palestine and Syria. A Syrian minister on Sunday confirmed that last week’s confirmed 10 polio cases reported in northeast Syria had in fact emerged from Pakistan.
Among this year’s 56 cases, four are from Sindh, three from Punjab and nine from K-P, while 40 cases have surfaced from the Federally Administered Tribal Areas and Frontier Regions.
The global battle against the poliovirus has largely been a success story, with the total number of cases being reduced from 350,000 in 1988 to 223 last year. India, which once accounted for half of the world’s cases of polio, was taken off the endemic list in 2012 after a massive public health campaign.
Source: The Express Tribune