Pakistan reports first polio case of 2023

A health worker administers a polio vaccine to a child during the Polio Free Pakistan campaign in Latifabad. — APP/File

Polio virus was discovered in a three-year-old boy in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) – the first case of the crippling disease in the country before the year 2023.

The minor boy – a resident of Ghora Bakka Khel in Bannu – has tested positive for virusthe health officials confirmed.

The crippling disease affected both legs of the minor boy. The patient and his family have no travel history, authorities said.

On January 24, Minister of National Health Services, Regulation and Coordination, Abdul Qadir Patel, confirmed the country’s first discovery of the wild polio virus in 2023 – found in an environmental sample in Lahore.

However, the virus has been periodically found in sewage water. The poliovirus found in the sample from Gulshan-e-Ravi found links to Afghanistan’s Nangahar province since last November, Pakistan’s National Institute of Health (NIH) Polio Laboratory said.

Meanwhile, Patel said the two “countries are united in the fight against the virus and are working together to eradicate the crippling disease.”

He renewed the government’s commitment to completely eradicate the crippling disease from the country.

He added that while the isolation of the virus was a concern, it was excellent to note that it was discovered quickly. “This timely detection of the virus in the environment was crucial to protecting children from polio virus paralysis.”

Stressing the need to vaccinate children in a timely manner, the minister said: “The only way to stop the virus is to vaccinate all children under the age of five. It is critical that parents and carers, especially in Lahore, ensure that their child is vaccinated in the February round.”

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