Fearing polio virus threat from Pakistan, the ministry of health and family welfare has begun anti-polio vaccination drive at Attari land and rail border. Under this all children between 0 to 5 years, arriving in India from Pakistan are being administered polio drops.
Polio virus importation from Pakistan is a major threat after dengue virus.
"In India the last polio case was detected on January 13, 2011 while 89 polio cases have been detected in Pakistan," said deputy commissioner, immunization, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare Dr Pradeep Haldar in Attari on Tuesday.
Amritsar civil surgeon Avtar Singh Jharewal said July to November is the most vulnerable period for the transmission of polio virus so as a preventive measure they were administering polio drops to all the children arriving from Pakistan. "We also fumigate Samjhauta Express and the buses entering India from Pakistan," said Jharewal.
He said a health workers team led by a medical officer was deputed both at the Attari rail and land border to also keep an eye on any passenger arriving from Pakistan with symptoms including fever and body ache. "We have asked for kits to conduct NS 1 test that confirms dengue on the very first day," he said.
A young Pakstani tourist Shadat said dengue had reached epidemic proportions in Pakistan especially in the neighbouring city Lahore so it was right on the part of Indian authorities to take preventive measures. Another Pakistani visitor Afrida Sarfaraz said she was impressed to see all that the Indian government was doing to take care of its people.
With Punjab reporting its second case of the year and Balochistan adding another two to its total, Pakistan is now only short of two polio cases to score an embarrassing century. Of the remaining three polio endemic countries, India stands tall with a solo case while Afghanistan and Nigeria have reported 30 cases each so far.
The latest cases have taken the total number of polio cases countrywide in 2011 so far to 98 (97 type-1 cases and 1 type-3 case). The total number of infected districts, towns, tribal agencies, and areas remains 37 in 2011. The Quetta block has now reported 31 polio cases this year so far, which constitute 76% of the total cases reported from Balochistan.
Fahiza, an 18-month old female child, who had onset of paralysis on September 10, resides in Killi Khairabad Union Council Malikyaar of tehsil Pishin. As per recall of the parents, the child had not received a single dose of oral polio vaccine either during Sub-Immunization Activities (SIAs) or routine immunization.
The new case missed oral polio vaccine doses due to refusal of the family. This is the 10th polio case from district Pishin this year; all from tehsil Pishin. In fact, all the 13 polio cases in district Pishin during the last 3 years were reported from tehsil Pishin. The UC of the new case has been flagged high-risk based on persistent transmission and presence of persistent pockets of refusal households/families, the National Coordinator of the Prime Minister s Monitoring and Coordination Cell for Polio Dr. Altaf Bosan informed.
A total of 18 vaccination campaigns have been conducted in district Pishin since January 2010. The quality of these campaigns in the said district has been of concern. Pishin could not achieve 95% finger marking coverage in 5 of the 7 SIAs conducted in 2011. UC Malikyaar could not achieve 95% finger marking coverage in 6 campaigns.
The other victim is Bibi Rehana, a 12-month old female child who had onset of paralysis on September 16, 2011 and resides in Seyab road Wali gate, UC Kachi Baig in tehsil Quetta city. As per recall of the parents, this child too had not received any dose of OPV through routine immunization or SIAs due to refusal of the family.
This is the 6th type-1 polio case reported from district Quetta this year so far. The UC Kachi Baig has been flagged high-risk due to the presence of high numbers of mobile and nomadic groups in the area. A total of 11 vaccination campaigns have been conducted in district Quetta since September 2010. Quetta district could not achieve the target of 95% finger marking coverage set in the National Emergency Action Plan (NEAP) in any of the 7 campaigns in 2011. In fact, the finger marking coverage remained less than 90% in three instances.
There is need for radical steps by the provincial health and administrative leadership to plug the gaps in the campaign quality in Quetta block. Refusals need to be overcome, awareness should be raised for vaccination and its demand should be increased among communities in Quetta block with a special focus on high-risk tehsils and UCs, Dr. Altaf Bosan suggested.
Moreover, there is a need for further refinement of the UC level micro-plans in the Quetta block with a special focus on high-risk UCs before the National Immunization Days scheduled for October. The involvement of the parliamentarians of Quetta block to improve the SIAs quality should be followed and further strengthened to ensure translation into action at the UC level.
The case from Punjab is located in Lodhran. The province lost its envious polio-free status on September 8, 2011 with confirmation of its first case.
Oral polio vaccine drives in Pakistan have failed to stop a resurgence of the virus.
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KARACHI, Sep 26, 2011 (IPS) - Despite two decades of mass oral polio vaccination (OPV) drives, Pakistan has failed to control the crippling paediatric disease. Health authorities now fear that it is exporting the virus and setting back global eradication plans.
Over the last two months, seven cases have been confirmed in China’s western Xinjiang province where a vaccination drive is under way. It is the first outbreak since 1999, when it was traced to India. China’s last indigenous case was in 1994.
"It is a sad piece of news, but not altogether unexpected," said Dr. Nima Abid, polio team leader for the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Pakistan, talking to IPS.
The strain of polio isolated in China is genetically linked to the wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV1) currently circulating in Pakistan, according to a Global Alert and Response (GAR) warning from the WHO released on Sep. 20.
WHO says this confirms that the poliovirus is spreading internationally from Pakistan, and blames inadequate immunisation in the country for the spread.
"In 2011, supplementary immunisation activities in Pakistan have been inadequate in quality in key high- risk areas," states the GAR.
WHO’s concern is shared by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). "Clearly there was enough travel between the two countries for the virus to have been exported," said Dennis King, head of UNICEF’s polio unit in Islamabad.
"It is a very serious concern," King said. "The floods last year and the security conditions have presented real challenges to immunisation activities for eradication."
According to King, despite the immunisation programmes the virus has continued to circulate in parts of Balochistan, the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, northern Sindh and Karachi.
Since 1988, the Global Polio Eradication Initiative - spearheaded by WHO, Rotary International, the U.S. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention and UNICEF - has achieved a 99 percent reduction in polio incidence worldwide.
This spectacular achievement has been possible through the mass administration of OPV simultaneously to all children below the age of five, to induce ‘herd immunity’ in entire regions and replace the wild polio virus with a cultured, attenuated strain.
Pakistan now leads four countries including Afghanistan, Nigeria and India where polio remains endemic. But Pakistan is the only country that has seen a resurgence.
The last 10 years saw Pakistan taking massive strides to reduce the polio incidence. In 2005, the number of cases went down to just 28, but since then there were signs of the OPV drive losing momentum.
In 2008, there was a jump to 117 cases, followed by 89 in 2009 and 144 in 2010. This year, the country has already reported 90 cases, with the cold season, when virulence increases, yet to begin.
King said there is now pressure on the Pakistan government to improve the quality of immunisation drives.
While partners and donors acknowledge factors like natural catastrophes and insurgency, King is "not sure how patient they will be if they don’t see big drop in polio cases by the end of this year or early next year."
Referring to the outbreak in China, he said polio will spread as long as there is "uncontrolled polio transmission in any country."
There is now better coordination between Afghanistan and Pakistan authorities, especially after it was found that the strain of the virus circulating in both countries was the same.
"Transit teams at every border post ensure that children are vaccinated irrespective of which side they are coming in and we’re impressed with that," King told IPS.
An outbreak of polio in 2010 in areas of Tajikistan along Afghanistan's northern borders, which left 500 children paralysed, shows the rapidity with which the virus spreads.
India has, since September, made it mandatory for all children up to five years of age crossing the border overland by bus or train to be given polio drops.
For five years now, Saudi Arabia has been following a policy of requiring people coming into that country from Pakistan and other polio-endemic countries to carry certificates of vaccination, and also have OPV drops on arrival.
For now, more than the export of the virus to neighbouring countries, health experts are concerned with increased transmission within Pakistan.
"The government needs to get to the root of the problem," Dr. Mubina Agboatwala, former head of the polio clinic at Karachi's government hospital, told IPS.
"Is it campaign fatigue? Why has the enthusiasm sapped? Are the vaccinators doing their job? Why are certain pockets persistently unreached?"
Agboatwala says it is now clear that the key to controlling polio in Pakistan lies in micro-planning to ensure that every child is vaccinated.
There is emphasis on micro-planning for vaccination campaigns at the operational as well as the communication level, under the National Emergency Action Plan for Polio Eradication launched in January by President Asif Ali Zardari.
"We are leaving no stones unturned to reach and vaccinate every child under five years of age in every vaccination round," said King.
"We have to reach every doorway and convince every parent that OPV is safe and necessary to prevent polio. By having their children vaccinated every time teams come to their door, Pakistani parents can protect their children," King said.
"Further, by cooperating, Pakistani parents can gift a polio-free world to countless unborn generations of the world's children," King added. (END)
XINJIANG, China – The World Health Organisation (WHO) says a strain of polio virus from Pakistan has begun to spread in China, media reported September 21. China’s last previous polio outbreak - linked to a virus from India - occurred in 1999.
One Chinese has died and another nine are hospitalised, the WHO said, according to CNN.com.
Doctors found a genetic link between polio virus isolated in at least seven residents of China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region and the virus circulating in Pakistan, the BBC reported. Xinjiang borders Pakistan.
Xinjiang authorities have begun a vaccination campaign, the BBC reported.
I think all countries should take care in allowing Pakistanis inside their country and ask for mandatory vaccination of Pakistanis and a certificate of vaccination should be made compulsory. Otherwise, there is a clear danger of spreading of Polio virus to other countries like India where it has been eradicated after decades of fighting.
It spreads through polio carriers or polio-inflicted persons. It spreads from the stools or saliva of the polio carrying persons. It is very contagious and that is why Polio vaccination is mandatory in India and is carried out with much gusto. Now there are hardly any polio cases in India - may be 1-2cases, that's all.
Diseases spreading from Pakistan like Polio and Pakistaniat not good for the world. Add to that Pakirror (paki terror) had to combine the two words as both mean the same. For the first time a word formed by joining two synonyms!!
now this is bad. polio effects the most unfortunate people of the society and in case of pakistan it is the poor tribals. pity for them.
friends dont get so damn radicalized that you come out of domain of humanity we belong to country and culture that cremates even the enemy after their death. so atleast no ills about unfortunate kids going more unlucky
It would be nice to know what the common Pakistani thinks about vaccination or innoculation. Some have reservation and often prefer the miseries as a 'gift' from God; this being mainly from the not particularly educated masses, while the educated ones, often a minority, like to prepare for it.