Islamabad - The National Emergency Operations Centre for Polio Eradication on Wednesday confirmed two new cases of polio in the country taking the toll to six this year. The government said that the polio virus is becoming weak and it failed in paralyzing to the affected children. 

The statement issued by ministry of National Health Services said that EOC has notified two new polio cases from Gadap, Karachi and Khyber tribal district in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, bringing the total number of polio cases in the country to six this year.  The statement said that the virus however failed to cause any clinical paralysis to both the children. The first case of polio was confirmed in a 42 month-old female child from Gadap, Karachi, and the other case in a 55-month old female child from Khyber tribal district, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

According to details the lab detected polio virus from their stool samples on 1st October and 30th September respectively. Both girls had received multiple doses of the Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV) which boosted their immunity and protected them from a life-long paralysis.

“The polio virus has been continuously found in the sewage waters of Peshawar and Karachi for the last 12 months,” said Babar Bin Atta, the Prime Minister’s Focal Person for Polio Eradication. He said the programme will continue to focus on clearing these two remaining reservoirs from the virus with full force. “The multiple vaccine doses gave the children the immunity boost to fight off the poliovirus attack. They have no residual weaknesses and will live like normal children,” said Dr Rana Safdar, National Coordinator for Polio Eradication appreciated the vigilant health workers who picked these cases with atypical clinical presentations. Earlier this year, three polio cases were reported from Dukki District in Balochistan province, while one case was reported from the Charsadda district of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KP).  Being fully vaccinated in routine and door to door campaigns, the child from Charsadda had also escaped paralysis. PM’s focal person Babar Atta said that polio virus case numbers in Pakistan are the lowest ever and the immunity gaps continue to fall.

“We cannot afford any let up in our efforts because as long as the virus is being detected anywhere in the country, no child is absolutely safe,” he said.  Multiple doses of polio vaccine are required for a child to be fully protected – each additional dose further strengthens a child’s immunity level against polio.  Contrarily, every missed child provides a place for the polio virus to hide.  “Any child with low immunity will be where the virus will find refuge. We need to ensure all our children have received all of their routine immunizations and are vaccinated, with two drops, every time the vaccine is offered,” Bin Atta added.  He said parents who do not ensure vaccination of their children are risking health and lives of their own children as well as others around them. It is thus the responsibility of communities to help in identifying and vaccinating such children.