PESHAWAR - National Institute of Health (NIH) Islamabad on Wednesday notified two new polio cases each from Tehsil Mir Ali, North Waziristan and Tehsil Paharpur, District DI Khan of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, taking the total count of polio cases to 13 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and 19 in Pakistan during 2019 so far.

According to a statement issued here by Emergency Operations Center (EOC) KP, wild polio virus has been isolated from stool sample of 17 months girl resident of Tarroti, Idak UC Mir Ali-7, Tehsil Mir Ali, North Waziristan and 144 months girl of UC Dhap Shumali, Tehsil Paharpur, District DI Khan.

By the recall of parents, 17 months girl has not received any dose of essential/routine immunisation while administration of anti-polio vaccine during campaign is still under investigation, whereas, 144 months (12 years) girl received only three doses of routine/essential immunisation (as per recall of parents).

Coordinator EOC Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Capt (R) Kamran Ahmed Afridi said that identification of new cases is reminder of the fact that poliovirus exists and is in circulation all over the region putting every child at risk unless properly vaccinated to boost their immunity.

He said that unfortunately anti-polio propaganda by certain vested elements is the major contributing factor in increasing misconceptions and resistance to vaccination in the community which is resulting in the hike of polio cases.

Therefore, he appealed to the parents to turn deaf ears to the propaganda and vaccinate their children against polio, protecting them from lifelong disabilities and deaths.

On examination, tone and reflexes of 17 months girl were found decreased in right upper and lower limb, whereas, weakness has been found in all the four limbs and breathing muscles of higher aged girl of 144 months (12 years) from DI Khan.

Regarding polio in higher aged groups experts are of the view that poliomyelitis mainly affects young under immunised children, but, it can paralyse persons of any age, including adults, especially, in settings where general population immunity is low.

Experts emphasise that when adults are affected the results are devastating and often with a higher death rate. For example, when wild polio virus reinfected the republic of Congo in 2010-2011, almost 400 adults were paralysed by polio in less than six months. Almost 50 percent of those affected died within days of contracting the virus.

Polio cases of higher age group were also reported from Pakistan and the case from DI Khan is the second higher aged group polio case reported from the country in 2019 so far.

Immediate meeting has been called upon at Emergency Operations Center Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to analyse the situation and prepare for launching SNID from 17 June 2019 in the affected districts.