Polio cases in Pakistan pass 2012 total

Polio is on the rise in Pakistan, health officials said Wednesday, as the number of infections in 2013 passed the total for the whole of 2012.

Pakistan is one of only three countries in the world where the highly infectious disease which cripples limbs remains endemic.

Opposition from militant groups has hampered efforts to vaccinate children against polio in Pakistan and officials said violence was part of the reason for the increase in cases.

"Last year there were a total of 58 cases, but 62 fresh victims of polio have already been reported in 2013," a senior government official, who works with international donors working to eradicate polio, told AFP.

Six cases were in eastern Punjab province, four in Sindh in the south and nine in northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, but by far the bulk of the infections—43—were in the tribal areas along the Afghan border.

The Pakistani Taliban banned polio vaccinations in the tribal region of Waziristan last year, alleging the campaign was a cover for espionage.

"The main reason for the outbreak is militancy in the northwest. Vaccination teams are unable to reach the tribal areas because of risks to their lives," the official said.

Polio cases reached a low of 28 in 2005 but have risen since, reaching a peak of 198 in 2011.

In August warned of a serious in the northwest, saying more than 240,000 children had missed vaccination because of the Taliban ban.

Elsewhere in the country, health workers giving out polio drops have been attacked and killed, including in the largest city Karachi.

On Monday the World Health Organization linked an outbreak of in Syria that has paralysed 13 children to a strain of the virus from Pakistan.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Pakistan warns of polio outbreak after fresh cases

Aug 28, 2013

Health officials in Pakistan on Wednesday warned of a serious polio outbreak after the disease was detected in 16 children in a tribal district where militant groups have banned vaccination.

240,000 Pakistani children miss anti-polio drive (Update)

Mar 29, 2013

(AP)—Some 240,000 children have missed U.N.-backed vaccinations against polio because of security concerns in Pakistan's tribal regions bordering Afghanistan, a top official with the World Health Organization said Friday.

UN launches polio vaccination campaign in Mideast

Nov 09, 2013

The United Nations says a massive campaign to vaccinate children in the Middle East against polio has begun after the first cases in 14 years were confirmed in northeastern Syria last week.

Recommended for you

Nanopatch to help WHO battle polio

18 minutes ago

The World Health Organisation's (WHO) battle against polio has a new weapon after joining forces with Vaxxas, the biotechnology company responsible for developing revolutionary vaccine delivery method the Nanopatch.

Obama's Ebola response: Is it enough and in time?

4 hours ago

President Barack Obama declared Tuesday that the Ebola epidemic in West Africa could threaten security around the world, and he ordered 3,000 U.S. military personnel to the region in emergency aid muscle ...

First domestic case of chikungunya in Brazil

4 hours ago

Brazil's authorities on Tuesday reported the first domestically contracted cases of the mosquito-borne chikungunya virus, prompting the government to announce it was stepping up attempts to control the disease.

Australia promises $6.4 million to fight Ebola

5 hours ago

Australia announced on Wednesday it will immediately provide an additional 7 million Australian dollars ($6.4 million) to help the international response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

User comments