Islamabad [Pakistan], Mar 30 (ANI): While health authorities in the country are finding it difficult to deal with a sudden spike in the number of coronavirus patients, several new cases of poliovirus have been reported in Pakistan, worsening the current health crisis.
Three boys have been paralysed in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province in the northwest part of the country by crippling polio, taking up the current year's tally to 36 on Monday, Dawn reported.
An official working for the National Institute of Health confirmed that a nine-month-old boy, a resident of Lakki Marwat District, with his right upper limb paralysed, was among the three infected by the poliovirus.
Polio is a highly infectious disease caused by poliovirus and it mainly affects children under the age of five. The poliovirus targets the nervous system and can cause paralysis in the entire body, including death in severe circumstances. While there is no cure for polio, vaccination is the most effective way to protect children from this crippling disease. Each time children under five are vaccinated, their protection against the virus is increased.
In 2019, there had been a sudden uptick in the number of polio cases following malicious anti-vaccine campaigns, and higher rates of refusals as a result of them.
Polio has largely been eliminated from the world -- even in countries with higher population densities, greater issues with sanitation and longer-lasting conflicts -- apart from Pakistan and Afghanistan where polio cases are still reported.
The World Health Organisation had imposed a polio-linked travel restriction on Pakistan in 2014. Since then, every Pakistani traveling abroad has to carry a polio vaccination certificate along with other valid documents.
On Monday, health authorities also confirmed that the coronavirus has infected at least 16,00 people in Pakistan while 17 others have succumbed to the killer bug. (ANI)