Pakistan records 72 polio cases in 2013: WHO

Pakistan recorded 72 cases of polio this year compared to 58 for all of 2012, a World Health Organisation (WHO)official said on Wednesday.

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

But opposition from has hampered efforts to immunise , with vaccination teams murdered in some cases.

Officials said the violence and suspicions about the were the reason for the increase in cases.

"Pakistan has reported 72 cases which is highest in comparison to two other countries with the disease, as Nigeria has 50 cases and Afghanistan reported only nine during 2013," Elias Durry, emergency coordinator for the WHO's Polio Eradication Pakistan Program, told reporters.

According to a global update for polio cases, Pakistan had 58 cases last year while Nigeria had 110 and Afghanistan 31.

Six cases this year have been reported in the eastern province of Punjab, six in Sindh in the south and 10 in northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

But by far the bulk of the infections—50—were in the lawless 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.

"We successfully immunised over 33 million children during the recent vaccination campaign while 2.3 million children were recorded missed during the campaign," Durry said.

He said that in most cases children were missed in the areas where the law and order situation was not favourable, and where vaccination teams faced security threats.

More than 47,000 children missed vaccination because of parental refusals.

In August health officials warned of the danger 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.

Polio cases reached a low of 28 in 2005 but rose to 198 in 2011.

Last month, the WHO linked an outbreak of polio 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

Polio cases in Pakistan pass 2012 total

Nov 13, 2013

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 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.

Recommended for you

Sierra Leone streets deserted as shutdown begins

2 hours ago

Sierra Leone's normally chaotic capital resembled a ghost town on Friday as residents were confined to their homes for the start of a three-day lockdown aimed at halting the deadly Ebola epidemic.

Sierra Leone launches controversial Ebola shutdown

4 hours ago

Sierra Leone on Friday launched a controversial three-day shutdown to contain the deadly spread of the Ebola virus, as the UN Security Council declared the deadly outbreak a threat to world peace.

Cooling of dialysis fluids protects against brain damage

16 hours ago

While dialysis can cause blood pressure changes that damage the brain, cooling dialysis fluids can protect against such effects. The findings come from a study appearing in an upcoming issue of the Journal of the American So ...

Two Ebola vaccines to be tested in Switzerland

17 hours ago

Clinical trials of two experimental vaccines against the deadly Ebola virus are due to begin soon in Switzerland, the country's Tropical and Public Health Institute said on Thursday.

User comments