7 new polio cases surface in Pakistan

Seven new cases of polio have surfaced in Pakistan, taking the number of those affected by the crippling disease this year to 194 and could break the 14-year record of 199 cases in the country.

PTI| Last Updated: Oct 03, 2014, 13:34 PM IST

Islamabad: Seven new cases of polio have surfaced in Pakistan, taking the number of those affected by the crippling disease this year to 194 and could break the 14-year record of 199 cases in the country.

The new fresh cases came to light on the first day of two-day catch up campaign yesterday which was launched at the conclusion of three-day countrywide drive to immunise 34.1 million children.

An official of the National Institute of Health confirmed the presence of the virus in seven more children.

"Six infected children are from northwestern tribal areas and adjacent Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province and one from Karachi," said the official.

The number of victims in Karachi has reached 16 which showed the dangers of the poliovirus in the city of over 18 million people.

Out of the 194 total, 134 cases are from tribal areas, 35 from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, 18 from Sindh, five from Balochistan and two from Punjab.

The security issue and refusal by parents were main impediments faced by the polio workers. There were reports that more than 16,000 children were missed in Peshawar as their parents refused the medicine.

Thousands of others could not be reached due to threats by the militants.

"The number of polio cases, recorded this year has reached 194 and if it reaches 200, it will break its own record of 199 in year 2000," an official said.

A total of 58 polio cases were reported in 2012 while 93 cases surfaced in 2013.

Pakistan, which is already facing travel restrictions imposed by the World Health Organisation, is among the three countries along with Nigeria and Afghanistan where polio virus is endemic.