ISLAMABAD - The National Institute of Health (NIH) has confirmed the presence of P1 strain of the poliovirus in one more child of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) from FR Bannu.

The new case brought the total number of polio cases to 67 in 2014 (as compared to 13 in 2013 for the same time period). The 7-month old female child, Malala, daughter of Rasool Zaman, who contracted the diseases, is a resident of village Wali Noor Senthanga, Tehsil FR Bannu. She received no dose of the Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV).

This is the second wild poliovirus case reported from FR Bannu this year; as FR Bannu is touching geographical boundaries with Waziristan Agency, the quality of polio eradication in FR Bannu depends on vaccinating the children in North and South Waziristan.

The number of infected districts, towns, tribal agencies and areas in the country remains nine (as compared to eight in 2013 for the same time period).

About 95 percent (62 out of 67) polio cases this year have been reported from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa & FATA together; of which 74 percent (49/67) are from North & South Waziristan agencies.

Almost all polio cases reported from North & South Waziristan agencies in 2014 did not receive any dose of oral polio vaccine (OPV). It is important to mention that no polio campaigns have been conducted in North and South Waziristan agencies since June 2012, leading to an ongoing explosive polio outbreak with 37 polio cases in 2013 and 46 so far during the current year.

Fata has reported 53 polio cases during the current year out of which 44 belong to North Waziristan, 05 from South Waziristan whereas 02 and are from Khyber Agency and FR Bannu respectively. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has reported 09 polio cases during the current year, of which 05 belong to Bannu and 04 to Peshawar. Sindh has reported 05 polio cases during the current year, all from Karachi. However, Punjab and Balochistan have not reported a single case of polio during the current year.

The Prime Minister Polio Monitoring and Coordination Cell recommends that only good population immunity levels in the areas surrounding North and South Waziristan and Khyber agencies can limit the spread of the outbreak. And for this all the children in North and South Waziristan, FR Bannu, Bara and other unreached areas of FATA should be immediately accessed by taking on-board all the relevant stakeholders.