Five new polio cases have been reported from across the country, bringing the tally to 128. Two of the cases were from Sindh, two from Balochistan and one from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
The cases in Sindh were from districts Mirpurkhas and Qamber Shahdadkot. The provincial Emergency Operations Centre clarified that these are cases from December last year and not from 2020.
In Mirpurkhas, the victim was a two-year-old girl from Sindhri. According to her parents, she had received seven doses of the polio vaccine during campaigns but no routine immunisation was done. The second victim was a two-year-old girl from Warah, Qamber Shahdadkot. Her parents said she had received the polio vaccine on seven occasions.
In Balochistan the affected were from districts Jaffarabad and Qila Abdullah. The first case was a 16-month-old boy who had received seven doses of the polio vaccine during campaigns and two during routine immunisation. The second case was a five-year-old boy who had received seven doses during polio campaigns and no routine immunisation.
The case from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa was from district Lakki Marwat, which has recorded 30 cases so far—the highest number in a single district. The victim was an 18-month-old boy whose parents recalled had received seven doses during campaigns and two during routine immunisation.
It is worth noting that all the new cases are from families on the lower end of the socioeconomic scale. Officials have also confirmed that the polio virus was detected in 50% of the sewerage samples collected from across Pakistan.
“The current intensity of transmission indicates huge immunity gaps that would take some time to be effectively plugged,” said national EOC coordinator Dr Rana Safdar. “Realistically, national immunisation days scheduled in December 2019, February and April 2020 with case response and routine immunisation focus in between can turn the tide by mid 2020.”