Yet another case of type-1 poliovirus has surfaced in Pakistan’s Khyber Agency, the only tribal district in Asia where both type-1 and type-3 polioviruses are still prevalent.
The National Institute of Health (NIH) confirmed the case from Khyber Agency on Sunday, raising the official national polio count to 22.
This is the ninth case from Khyber Agency and the seventh from Bara Tehsil this year. The victim is 18-month-old Mudassir, a resident of Akka Khel area. The child had not received any dose of oral polio vaccines, either through routine or supplementary immunization activities.
Five new cases of wild poliovirus have also been recorded in Nigeria’s Kaduna State, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports.
The discovery of the new cases follows an announcement on May 24 by the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) that it will launch an emergency action plan to complete the eradication campaign.
In the past two years there have been “explosive outbreaks” of polio in Africa, Europe and Asia, said Bruce Aylward, head of WHO’s polio eradication campaign.
"What [the outbreaks] reminded people is that, if eradication fails, we are going to see a huge and vicious upsurge of this disease with consequences that it is very difficult even to foresee right now."
The GPEI estimates that once polio is eradicated, the global net benefit would be $40-50 billion by 2035, based on the potential decrease in treatment costs and increase in productivity compared to the amount of investments made by the GPEI since its formation. The bulk of the benefit would be felt by the poorest countries, said GPEI.
The proposed action plan focuses on increased vaccination coverage by the end of the year in Nigeria, Pakistan and Afghanistan.