PESHAWAR - Two more polio cases surfaced in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) on Wednesday, taking the number of polio cases registered so far to nine in the current year.

Official sources at provincial health department confirmed the newly-reported cases and said a 14-month-old girl Habiba from Sher Jangi union council in the outskirts of provincial metropolis and 13-month-old Shahzad from Jamrud tehsil of Khyber Agency were tested positive for the polio virus.

This year, they added, five polio cases were registered in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, three in Fata and one case was reported from Sindh province, while the number of cases recorded in 2014 was 303.

Pakistan is one of only three countries in the world where polio remains endemic but efforts to eradicate the disease have been severely hindered in recent years as militants continue to attack immunisation teams and polio workers.

Polio cases in Pakistan reached a low of 28 in 2005 but rose to 198 in 2011. In 2012, Pakistan had 58 cases, while 93 were recorded in 2013. Taliban often attack polio teams as they see vaccination campaigns as a cover for espionage.

The officials said that refusal on the part of parents remained the underlying factor behind increasing cases of polio in this region. The PTI led coalition government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is currently running a ‘Sehat Ka Ittehad’ campaign to eradicate nine different diseases including polio from the province and Fata.