ISLAMABAD   -   National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC) for polio eradication and the city administration has urged parents to cooperate in anti-polio drive after the virus was detected in the territory of the federal capital, Thursday.  Deputy Commissioner Muhammad Hamza Shafqaat tweeted that polio virus has been detected in the environment samples taken from Sabzi Mandi.

The technical team has decided to vaccinate children up to the age of 10 years in areas I-9, I-10, I-11, I-12, H-11, H-12, H-13, Naseerabad, Chishtiabad and Shams Colony. He urged the residents to cooperate with the administration.

Coordinator NEOC for polio eradication Dr Rana Muhammad Safdar in a conversation with The Nation said that the virus detected in the hot reservoir of the Rawalpindi and Islamabad region originated from the Nangarhar, Afghanistan. He said that the virus later travelled to Peshawar in the locality of Shaheen Muslim town before it was detected in the sewerage of the twin cities. He said that the authorities found that the virus reached the territory after the laboratory testing, around four months ago. He said that the same virus has been reported in Lahore as well. Dr Rana Muhammad Safdar said that total 58 sites containing polio virus are registered with the NEOC all across the country. He added that authorities following its routine send the samples from the sewerage sites for testing in National Institute of Health (NIH) every month. Dr Rana said that the Rawalpindi/Islamabad site is very sensitive as it is the junction where people from across the country reach and travel in other parts.  He said that the areas mentioned by the DC Islamabad are the areas where the population from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and other countries are residing with families or are settled for business.

Coordinator NEOC added that two hot reservoirs are located in the territory of Rawalpindi while one in the federal city, Islamabad. He said that authorities are aware about the sewerage sites and every month samples are collected from there and are sent to NIH for lab examination. He said that a clean environment is necessary for complete elimination of the polio virus. Dr Rana also said that though the virus has been found in the reservoir but no polio case has been reported in this region. He said that the last case reported from the twin cities was in 2010.  He said that NEOC is vaccinating 38700000 children in the country with the help of over 200000 workers and security forces. He said that the polio teams are actively going door to door for the vaccination but cooperation is required from the citizens.

He said that families settled in the hot reservoir areas needs to come forward and cooperate with the administration for the elimination of the virus. He also urged neighbours to inform the administration if any family has not vaccinated their children. Dr Rana Safdar said that last year the number of polio cases reported in the country shrunk to eight only and the country is ready to give the final push to the virus for its elimination.  Ministry of National Health Services (NHS) earlier in a statement issued said that the genetic analysis reports from the Polio Virology Laboratory at the NIH confirmed that the virus was able to take the road from current hotspots within the country and in Afghanistan, posing risks for under immunized children residing elsewhere. It stated that since the beginning of the year, eight cases of wild polio virus have been reported in the country including three from Dukki district in Balochistan, one from Charsadda in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, one from Gadap, Karachi, one from Khyber and two cases from Bajaur tribal districts in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.