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Infection hazard Event icon
Event title

Pakistan - Fifth case of current year emerges from Quetta

Event category

Biological origin - Infection hazard

Severity

Low

Event date (UTC)

2024-06-09 05:58:00

Last update (UTC)

2024-06-09 05:58:00

Latitude

30.18414

Longitude

67.00141

Area range

Local event

Address/Affected area(s)

Quetta, Quetta District, Balochistan Province

This year’s fifth case of poliovirus infection has been confirmed in Quetta. The infected child did not survive and died in Karachi last month.
According to the Regional Reference Laboratory at the National Institute of Health (NIH), the legs of the two-year-old child were affected by the crippling disease on April 29. He was later shifted to Karachi, but his condition worsened as the disease spread to his arms. He passed away a few weeks later.
The NIH lab reported that the poliovirus was also detected in the child's siblings and cousins. The virus belongs to the YB3A poliovirus cluster that came from Afghanistan.
“This case is a sad reminder that until we eradicate poliovirus, no child anywhere is safe from this terrible disease,” said Coordinator to the Prime Minister on National Health Services Dr Malik Mukhtar Bharath.
He added that four of the five cases reported this year have been from Balochistan and the government is focusing its efforts on stopping the outbreak and enhancing polio vaccine and routine vaccination coverage rates in the province to ensure strengthened immunity for children.
More than 50 environmental samples have tested positive for poliovirus this year in Balochistan, including 21 from Quetta.
National Emergency Operations Centre for Polio Eradication Coordinator Captain (retd) Muhammad Anwarul Haq said that a detailed case investigation is being conducted to identify the origins of the virus that caused the infection and identify populations that may not have received the polio vaccine. “The polio programme will continue to implement vaccination campaigns and other strategies to increase immunisation rates,” he added.
On June 4, a critical anti-polio campaign was initiated across Sindh, including Karachi. The drive aims to vaccinate over 540,000 children under the age of five between June 3 and June 9. More than 35,000 health workers are administering the polio vaccine, with over 4,000 security personnel ensuring their safety.
This campaign coincides with similar efforts in Punjab, where cities like Lahore, Rawalpindi, Faisalabad, Multan, Mianwali, and Okara are also launching anti-polio drives.
Health officials warn that summer heat creates ideal conditions for the polio virus to spread, making this vaccination campaign crucial. Last year, six polio cases were reported in the country.

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