PESHAWAR  -  The Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) for Polio Eradication of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa has confirmed emergence of the year’s first polio case in the province from Charsadda district.

A 19-month-old boy of Mohalla Miangan Tehbana in UC Sarki Titara was tested positive for polio virus.

However, the child is safe enough from life-long paralysis and death because of the vaccinations he had received under the Sehat Muhafiz campaign.

According to medical record, the boy had received all three essential immunisation doses of the polio vaccine and more than seven doses of the Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV) which boosted the immunity of the child and protected him from a life-long paralysis.

“The multiple vaccine doses have given the boy an immunity boost to fight off the polio virus attack. He has no residual weakness in the limbs and can walk like a normal child,” said EOC Coordinator Abid Khan Wazir.  “While all of us are thankful for this, it is testimony of why it is important for every child under five years of age to be vaccinated in every round, so immunity levels are high enough to fight off the virus in its entirety.”

The EOC Coordinator said he was thankful to the boy’s parents for their cooperation with the Sehat Muhafiz vaccinators in supporting the polio vaccination campaign. He urged them to continue their support to the teams.

“A thorough field investigation is underway,” Abid Wazir said, adding, that atypical cases like that one could occur at end stages of an eradication campaign. He said it was unfortunate that wild polio virus was still circulating in the environment and posing constant threat to children in the country.

“Due to highly sensitive surveillance system of the polio campaign in Pakistan, the case was detected,” said Abid Wazir, appreciating the hard work and commitment of the teams under the leadership of the government for reaching every child under the age of five with two drops of polio vaccine in every campaign.

Abid Wazir said that the wild polio virus was circulating in Peshawar as it was evident after detection of the same in sewage water, adding that the virus could travel from Peshawar to any part of the province or the country or even outside Pakistan.

Giving an example, he explained that historically it had happened at multiple occasions that virus from one country travelled to other countries or even continents.

Reacting on this new case, the EOC coordinator said it was similar to the last polio case reported from Lakki Marwat district in 2017 where a female child Zunaira was hit by the polio virus but escaped paralysis due to protection provided by repeated polio doses.

So far in 2018, the number of polio cases has reached four with three cases from Dukki Balochistan and this latest one from Charsadda.