Child dies from polio in northwestern Pakistan; cases tally rises to 20
ISLAMABAD – Another polio case was reported in Pakistan, taking this year’s tally to 20.
Reports in local media quoting health officials said a ten-month-old child passed away, weeks after he contracted the contagious virus in the northern part of Waziristan, a mountainous region bordering Afghanistan.
The child's disability was reported on September 15, while his right arm and neck were paralyzed.
“In the ongoing year, as many as 17 cases of poliovirus have been reported from North Waziristan,” officials said, adding that the national tally of virus-affected children has reached 20 in the current year.
Lately, National Polio Lab has detected the child-crippling disease virus in sewage water samples collected from five cities, including Peshawar, Swat, Rawalpindi, Bannu, and South Waziristan.
New cases surfaced despite a nationwide inoculation campaign that has seen polio workers go from door-to-door to administer drops to minors.
Prior to the first poliovirus case which was reported earlier this year in April, the fifth most populous country spent 15 months without detecting a single case of the virus, the longest such period in its history.
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Polio is a highly infectious and debilitating disease that is usually spread through contaminated water or food. Invading the nervous system, the disease can cause total paralysis within hours.
The contagious virus thrived in the borderlands between Pakistan and Afghanistan where militants attacked and even killed anti-polio teams.
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