Islamabad, Nov 10 (PTI) Amid signs that Pakistan was close to eradicating polio, a top laboratory for the eradication of the disease here has confirmed the detection of a strain of poliovirus in nine samples collected from across five cities, a media report said on Friday.
Pakistan and Afghanistan are the only two remaining polio-endemic countries.
“The regional reference laboratory for polio eradication at the National Institute of Health (NIH), Islamabad, has confirmed the detection of Type-1 Wild Poliovirus (WPV1) in nine environmental samples collected in October,” The News International reported quoting officials.
The samples included four from Karachi in Sindh province, two from Chaman in Balochistan province and one each from Peshawar, Kohat and Nowshera in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.
Giving details of the exact places from where the samples were collected with the strain type and percentage for genetic linkage, the news report said, “These new detections take the total number of positive environmental (sewage) samples in Pakistan in 2023 to 64.” Meanwhile, the number of human polio cases in Pakistan in 2023 remains four.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) in October said that polio remains endemic just in Pakistan and Afghanistan – and 80 per cent of variant poliovirus cases are found in just four sub-national regions.
The WHO has said, with their all-out efforts, both Pakistan and Afghanistan have shown signs that these countries are close to eradicating the disease.
On October 2, Pakistan launched its second nationwide anti-polio campaign of the year in an effort to inoculate 44 million children under the age of 5. PTI NPK NPK NPK