Polio virus found in Egypt linked to Pakistan

January 21, 2013

Pakistani health officials Monday called for infants leaving the country to be issued polio vaccinations at airports after virus samples linked to a southern Pakistani city were discovered in Egypt.

Two sewage samples from Cairo were analysed and found to resemble a recently discovered strain in the Pakistani city of Sukkur, a joint statement by health officials, the (WHO) and UNICEF said.

"To reduce the possibility of spread of the polio virus beyond Pakistan's borders, the government's Monitoring and Coordination Cell is advising to set up permanent vaccination counters at the international departure lounges of all airports," it said.

The statement recommended that "all children under five years leaving the country are vaccinated against the polio virus."

Though Egypt has been polio-free since 2004, authorities there have ordered the immediate vaccination of all children under five years of age in the areas where the samples were found.

Polio cases in Pakistan have risen sharply in recent years, hitting 198 in 2011—the highest figure for more than a decade and the most of any country in the world, according to the WHO.

Unicef's acting chief of polio unit, Michael Coleman said the incident highlighted the importance of vaccination in Pakistan.

"It reinforces the urgent need of all caregivers across Pakistan to vaccinate children under five years of age against polio through the nearest health facility or through campaign vaccination teams," he said.

Shahnaz Wazir Ali, the prime minister's advisor on , termed the case "a stark reminder of the risks associated with active transmission in the country.

Pakistan is one of only three countries where the highly infectious crippling disease remains endemic, along with Afghanistan and Nigeria.

Earlier this month Pakistan provided paramilitary and police support to teams in the northwest after a series of attacks on .

UN agencies suspended work on a nationwide campaign to inoculate children against the highly infectious disease after nine health workers were murdered in a string of attacks in the northwest and Karachi in December last year.

Rumours about the vaccine being a plot to sterilise Muslims have long dogged efforts to tackle the disease in Pakistan.

Suspicion of vaccination programmes intensified after the jailing of a doctor who helped the CIA find Osama bin Laden in 2011 using a hepatitis campaign.

Explore further: Pakistan resumes polio vaccines under tight security

Related Stories

Pakistan resumes polio vaccines under tight security

January 4, 2013
Pakistan is providing paramilitary and police support to polio vaccinations being resumed discreetly in the northwest after a series of attacks on medical workers, officials said Friday.

Fall in polio vaccination refusal cases in Pakistan

October 22, 2012
Pakistan has witnessed a sharp drop in the number of families refusing to get their children vaccinated against polio, officials said Monday, while lamenting that nearly half a million children were left unvaccinated.

UN polio suspension hits 22,000 Pakistan children

August 2, 2012
Around 22,000 Pakistani children are at risk in Karachi after the World Health Organization suspended polio vaccinations over a spate of bloody shootings, a UN official warned Thursday.

One million Pakistani children miss polio vaccination

October 17, 2012
Almost one million Pakistani children were left out of a polio vaccination drive which ended Wednesday, officials said, as unrest and flooding limited access and some parents viewed the campaign as a Western "conspiracy".

3.5 million Pakistani children miss polio vaccine: WHO

December 21, 2012
More than 3.5 million Pakistani children missed out on polio vaccination this week in a campaign overshadowed by the deaths of nine immunisation workers, a UN official said Friday.

Pakistan claims progress in tribal polio vaccination

September 4, 2012
Pakistan Tuesday claimed progress in vaccinating thousands of children against polio in a tribal area bordering Afghanistan which had been inaccessible due to unrest for about three years.

Recommended for you

Google searches can be used to track dengue in underdeveloped countries

July 20, 2017
An analytical tool that combines Google search data with government-provided clinical data can quickly and accurately track dengue fever in less-developed countries, according to new research published in PLOS Computational ...

MRSA emerged years before methicillin was even discovered

July 19, 2017
Methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) emerged long before the introduction of the antibiotic methicillin into clinical practice, according to a study published in the open access journal Genome Biology. It was ...

New test distinguishes Zika from similar viral infections

July 18, 2017
A new test is the best-to-date in differentiating Zika virus infections from infections caused by similar viruses. The antibody-based assay, developed by researchers at UC Berkeley and Humabs BioMed, a private biotechnology ...

'Superbugs' study reveals complex picture of E. coli bloodstream infections

July 18, 2017
The first large-scale genetic study of Escherichia coli (E. coli) cultured from patients with bloodstream infections in England showed that drug resistant 'superbugs' are not always out-competing other strains. Research by ...

Ebola virus can persist in monkeys that survived disease, even after symptoms disappear

July 17, 2017
Ebola virus infection can be detected in rhesus monkeys that survive the disease and no longer show symptoms, according to research published by Army scientists in today's online edition of the journal Nature Microbiology. ...

Mountain gorillas have herpes virus similar to that found in humans

July 13, 2017
Scientists from the University of California, Davis, have detected a herpes virus in wild mountain gorillas that is very similar to the Epstein-Barr virus in humans, according to a study published today in the journal Scientific ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.