ISLAMABAD: A three-month-old child has been paralysed by wild poliovirus in the North Waziristan district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the 18th case in the country this year, the Ministry of National Health Services said late on Monday.
The child suffering from polio-induced disabilities had onset of paralysis on August 25, the Pakistan National Polio Laboratory at the National Institute of Health (NIH) confirmed on Saturday, according to a statement from the ministry.
All the cases in Pakistan this year were detected in southern KP, with two patients from its Lakki Marwat district and 16 from North Waziristan.
Last week, a positive environmental sample for poliovirus was detected from Karachi, in addition to four other isolates from Bannu, Peshawar and Swat cities of KP and Lahore, the ministry said.
“Karachi, home to communities from across Pakistan, is a historic polio reservoir and remains among areas categorized by the program at high risk of wild poliovirus transmission,” it added.
The humanitarian crisis in the wake of the unprecedented floods will pose graver challenges to Karachi and other areas of Pakistan in the foreseeable future, as millions of people are displaced and move to urban centres for refuge, said the statement.
It further added that large-scale movement of people, in addition to the high transmission season for the poliovirus, escalates the risk of wild poliovirus spreading.
“Despite the extreme climatic conditions, the Pakistan Polio Program conducted immunisation campaign wherever possible, and the program is prepared to restart the campaign in the flood-affected areas as soon as it becomes feasible,” Minister for Health Abdul Qadir Patel was quoted as saying in the statement.