PESHAWAR: The Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) for Polio Eradication of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has confirmed the first polio case of the province from Charsadda district where a 19-month-old boy of Mohalla Miangan Tehbana, UC Sarki Titara has tested positive. However, the child has been protected from life-long paralysis and death because of the vaccinations he has received under the Sehat Muhafiz campaign.
According to medical records, the boy has received all three essential immunization doses of the polio vaccine (IPV) and more than seven doses of the Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV) which boosted the immunity of the child and protected him from a life-long paralysis.
“The multiple vaccine doses have given the boy an immunity boost to fight off the poliovirus attack. He has no residual weakness in the limbs and can walk like a normal child,” said EOC Coordinator
Muhammad Abid Khan Wazir. “While all us are thankful for this, it’s testimony of why it’s important for every under five child to be vaccinated in every round, so immunity levels are high enough to fight off the virus in its entirety.”
The EOC Coordinator thanked the boy’s parents for their cooperation with the Sehat Muhafiz vaccinators in supporting the polio vaccination campaign. He urged them to continue their support to the teams till the virus has been stamped out from the country.
“A thorough field investigation is underway,” Mr. Abid Wazir said adding that atypical cases like this one can occur at end stages of an eradication campaign, Abid Wazir said that it was unfortunate that wild poliovirus is still circulating in the environment and posing constant threat to children in the country.
“Due to highly sensitive surveillance system of the polio campaign in Pakistan the case was detected,” said Abid Wazir, appreciating the hard work and commitment of the teams under the leadership of the Government for reaching every child under the age of five with two drops of polio vaccine in every campaign.
Mr. Abid Wazir said that the wild poliovirus is circulating in Peshawar as evidenced from the detection of the same in sewage water, adding that the virus can travel from Peshawar to any part of the province or the country or even outside Pakistan.
Giving example, he explained that historically the program has observed multiple occasions where virus from one country was exported to other countries or even continents.
Reflecting on this new case, the EOC Coordinator said it was similar with the last polio case reported from Lakki Marwat district in 2017 where a female child Zunaira was hit by the poliovirus but escaped paralysis due to the protection provided by repeated polio doses.
So far in 2018, the number of polio cases so far in 2018 has reached four with three cases from Dukki Balochistan and this latest case in Charsadda.