Published On: Mon, Dec 30th, 2013
Published in Category: Islamabad

Number of polio cases reach 82 in Pakistan this year

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ISLAMABAD: The number of polio cases in Pakistan reached 82 this year with five new cases reported in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas as the crippling disease remained endemic in the country.

Four cases were reported from North Waziristan Agency and one from South Waziristan Agency. The infected children are aged between 10-28 months.

A health official said polio vaccine was not administered to these children, Express Tribune reported today.

On Saturday, the number of cases in Pakistan was reported to reach 77, up by nineteen from the whole of last year. With the new cases, the count has increased to 82 this year.

Pakistan is one of only three countries in the world where the polio virus is still endemic. Violence against vaccinators and suspicions about the polio vaccine were cited as reasons for the increase in cases.

The Pakistani Taliban and other militant groups hampered efforts to immunize children, denouncing the vaccines as a “western plot” to sterilize Muslims and a cover for spies.

A polio worker was killed on Saturday and two others injured when unidentified gunmen attacked Peshawar’s Matni Hospital in northwest Pakistan.

The gunmen opened indiscriminate fire after entering the hospital and fled from the scene.

Polio vaccinator Zahid Gul was killed instantly and two others sustained severe injuries.

Polio campaign teams have been under constant attack in Pakistan’s restive northwest by the Taliban and its allies.

On December 21, unidentified militants gunned down a polio worker in the Jamrud Tehsil area of Khyber Agency. On December 13, gunmen had attacked two separate polio teams in northwestern Pakistan, killing one polio worker and two guards.