LAHORE - Like the other provinces, Punjab is no more polio-free this year as first ever case has been reported from Chua Saidan Shah, district Chakwal.

The polio virology laboratory at National Institute of Health (NIH), Islamabad, on Thursday confirmed presence of polio virus in stool of 71-month-old Muhammad Farhan who has taken regular doses during immunisation campaigns. Child affected with polio is not from internally-displaced persons (IDPs) but a local family.

On seeing symptoms of polio, District Officer Health Chakwal suggested sending stool sample of the child getting treatment for arthritis to the NIH for confirmation. The NIH on Thursday confirmed the child was a victim of the crippling virus.

World Health Organization (WHO) team will visit Chua Saidan Shah today (Friday) to get the latest updates.

The Punjab Health Department, however, is reluctant to accept the results straightaway, believing that the presence of polio virus could be due to administering vaccine to a child having less immunity.

The Punjab Health Department has decided to take fresh sample and get it examined again for confirmation that whether the boy was actually carrying the polio virus or that was due to the most recently administered vaccine.

“Farhan is physically weak. He has less immunity. He is suffering from arthritis. Though there are symptoms seen in polio patients, the situation could be otherwise. He is playing with children, quite unusual for polio patients at this age. We will carry out detailed investigation. We will take fresh sample and get it examined again.

The process will take about two months,” said a Health Department official who wanted not to be quoted. He, however, admitted that regardless the outcome of finding of fresh sample, this (Farhan) would be considered a polio case.