New polio case detected in Pakistan

 A new polio case has been detected in Pakistan's Taliban-dominated Khyber tribal region, taking the number of those affected by the crippling disease to a record 207.

Islamabad: A new polio case has been detected in Pakistan's Taliban-dominated Khyber tribal region, taking the number of those affected by the crippling disease to a record 207.

The 18-month-old victim, a girl, belongs to Akakhel area of Khyber tribal region where security forces are fighting Taliban militants.

Khyber tops the list of regions where polio cases have been detected with 45 victims, and there are chances of more cases as vast areas of the district have not been covered by anti-polio health workers due to a ban imposed by Taliban militants, said a health official from the area today.

Pakistan, which accounts for nearly 80 per cent of polio cases globally, has reported 207 new cases this year, surpassing its earlier peak of 199 cases detected in 1999.

The country faces massive resistance to its anti-polio efforts by Taliban militants, who consider the vaccines a conspiracy to sterile Muslims and regularly attack polio workers and their police escorts to discourage immunisation campaigns.

Pakistan, along with Afghanistan and Nigeria, are the only three countries in the world where polio remains endemic.

The WHO in its progress report has called Pakistan the "greatest single risk" to eradicating the crippling disease.

It said: "Pakistan remains the greatest single risk to the achievement of global polio eradication."

The WHO has already imposed travel restrictions on Pakistan to stop the export of the deadly poliovirus.

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