ISLAMABAD - National Institute of Health confirmed another case of polio in the country, taking the tally to 17 this year, The Nation learnt on Saturday.

Officials at the NIH polio virology laboratory said that the latest case of polio was confirmed in a boy from Gulshan-e-Iqbal area of Karachi. Earlier, the 16th case of polio was confirmed in a girl from North Waziristan last week.

According to the latest polio virus map available with The Nation, so far this year, the polio virus has been confirmed in 9 girls and 8 boys, while 9 districts in the country have been affected.  Details said that 11 polio virus cases have been confirmed in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 3 in Punjab and 3 in Sindh. The Bannu district has come with the worst situation where so far 5 cases have been confirmed.

Three cases have been confirmed from North Waziristan, three from Lahore and two from Karachi.

A senior official at NIH linked with polio program also said that sample site of I-10 in the federal city was still positive and not cleared from the polio virus.

A day before, Rawalpindi District Administration had claimed that the sample site of Rawalpindi was reported negative and was cleared of polio virus. It stated that the sample was reported negative after one year.

However, an official at the NIH said that twin cities both fall under the same region where polio existed and the site area of I-10 still had positive reports of existence of the virus.

Earlier, the national Polio Programme had announced launching a special polio campaign in Bannu as 50 percent cases were reported from the region.  A statement issued by National Emergency Operations Centre quoting the PM’s Focal Person on Polio Babar bin Atta said, “The situation is not just alarming but worsening if emergency remedial measures are not adopted”.

8 out of the 16 reported polio cases in Pakistan were reported from Bannu Division. According to a press statement, polio virus was first detected in Bannu in October 2008 at both the divisional and district levels which led to a massive outbreak in 2014 in North Waziristan and Bannu.  “Technical experts are of the view that if the circulation of poliovirus is not contained, soon it will engulf the neighbouring divisions as well” said Atta, adding that ‘the federal and provincial governments were fully committed to the cause’.

In order to overcome the situation, the polio programme is set to launch a special polio campaign in the Bannu division soon, which will aim to meet the standard requirement for eradication of the virus.

“It is high time that we gear up to collectively fight the menace of polio virus and provide support to our brave frontline workers so that they can reach and vaccinate every single Pakistani child”, reiterated the Prime Minister’s Focal Person on Polio.

Last year, 12 cases were reported, but the number reached to 17 in the mid of the year and officials working with polio programme believe that the number will rise.