Pakistan has seen a drastic surge in polio cases this year, with five more children being affected with the virus in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Local authorities have blamed the rise in polio cases on parents who refused to get their children vaccinated. This has increased after students in Peshawar’s Mashokhel were rushed to the hospital with complaints about a drug reaction during a polio campaign in April this year.
“It has been learnt that none of them was vaccinated during polio campaigns and routine immunisation. Unfortunately, since the incident of Peshawar (in April), we have been facing severe resistance from parents. They have kept markers at their houses and manage to avoid vaccination by marking the fingers of their children on the very first day of polio campaign,” the Pakistani Prime Minister’s Focal Person on Polio Eradication, Babar Bin Atta told The News International.
There is a sharp increase in the polio cases confirmed in Pakistan this year as compared to the figures in 2018 and 2017. While 53 cases have been confirmed in the South Asian country until now, only 12 and eight cases were confirmed in 2018 and 2017 respectively.
Of the newly confirmed victims, the youngest is merely 22-months-old.
While polio is highly infectious, it is easily preventable by the polio vaccine.
Polio cases are presently reported from two countries, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Due to this, nationals of either of the countries undertaking travel abroad are recommended to be vaccinated at the start of their journey by the Independent Monitoring Board (IMB), the Pakistani daily added.
The IMB had also recommended travel restrictions on Pakistan, which were implemented on May 5, 2014.