BANNU: A polio case has surfaced in union council Mirakhel of Bannu district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, which is the second polio case in Pakistan this year.

The victim child, 24-month-old Rehan, hails from Chak Karim village of Bannu. The parents of 24-month-old Rehan, who was ill, took him to local health centre on 16 January, where the doctor on duty suspected presence of poliovirus in the ailing child. The samples of Rehan were sent to the National Institute of Health (NIH) Islamabad, which sent its report to the National Emergency Operation Centre in Islamabad on Thursday evening. The report confirmed presence of poliovirus in the samples.

It is the second polio case in Pakistan this year. The first case of the year was reported from Bajaur tribal district.

Local immunisation officials said the father of the affected child had refused to administer polio drops to his son. He had also refused to follow the basic immunisation course for his child. The refusal of Rehan’s father to give him polio vaccination exposed him to life-long disability.

Samples taken from sewerage system in Bannu show that poliovirus is present there for the last four months. Similar warning has also been issued in Peshawar, Dera Ismail Khan and Kohat. Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) Coordinator Kamran Afridi has directed the concerned officials to visit these areas immediately and file complete report after investigation. Future strategy about the immunisation plan will be made after compiling of the report in the affected areas.

Meanwhile, preparations have been made to initiate an emergency vaccination campaign in Bannu and its surrounding areas on 18 February.

On February 2, the first polio case of 2019 has surfaced in Bajaur. The district surgeon said polio case has been confirmed in 11-month-old Javed.

Few days, ago, seven officials of the anti-polio immunisation campaign in Bajaur were removed from their posts over charges of negligence which resulted into emergence of three cases in the tribal district. Investigations proved that polio cases emerged in Bajaur due to refusal of several parents to administer polio drops to their children.

Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria are the only three countries in the world where polio is categorised is endemic viral infection. Vaccination efforts in these countries are often hampered due to refusal of parents or threats from militants.

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