Pakistan

BAHAWALPUR – Polio has resurfaced in Punjab as a four year old boy from Lodhran has tested positive for polio, health authorities say.

Ali Hasan s/o Muhammad Afzal of Chak 15-M, Dunyapur tehsil of Lodhran district, was admitted to the Civil Hospital a week ago. Doctors sent his samples to the National Institute of Health (NIH) in Islamabad which found them positive.

This is the first case of 2017. No polio case was reported in the province in 2016.

The minor was brought to the Civil Hospital on Jhangiwali Road here a few days ago for the treatment of chest infection. During treatment, doctors suspected abnormality in his right leg.

According to laboratory reports, the infant had an attack of Acute Flacid Paralysis (ACP), which could be curable after continuous treatment.

The confirmation has sparked panic among the civil hospital staff and parents of other minor patients.

After the receipt of positive report from Islamabad, an emergency was declared in the civil hospital Friday night where a special anti-polio counter was established and all the admitted children were administered anti-polio drops.

Hospital sources say immunization in the hospital would continue for another two days.

POLIO CASES IN PAKISTAN

2016: 19 cases

2015: 54 cases

2014: 304 cases

2013: 93 cases

2012: 58 cases

What is polio?

Polio, or poliomyelitis, is a crippling and potentially deadly infectious disease. It is caused by the poliovirus. The virus spreads from person to person and can invade an infected person’s brain and spinal cord, causing paralysis (can’t move parts of the body).

While the whole world is now polio free, Pakistan and Afghanistan are the last remaining countries with wild polio cases.

In 2014, Pakistan had 82 percent of the world’s cases of polio.

However, polio cases have decreased by over 99pc since 1988, from an estimated 350,000 cases then, to 54 in 2015, and 19 reported in 2016.

With the last population census conducted in 1998, the hurdles in estimating the number of children requiring vaccinations are significant.