WHO: Peshawar world’s ‘largest reservoir’ of polio

The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared Pakistan’s troubled north-western city of Peshawar as the world’s “largest reservoir” of endemic polio and has called for urgent action to boost vaccination.

As per the latest genomic results of the Regional Reference Laboratory for Polio Virus, 83 out of 91 polio cases in 2013 in the country are genetically linked to the poliovirus circulating actively in Peshawar. Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province and its capital Peshawar and adjoining tribal districts are polio hotspots.

All the polio cases reported from Pakistan are type-1 cases. No report of type-3 polio cases has been reported from Pakistan. Pakistan has been under pressure internationally to eradicate the disease, which usually infects children living in unsanitary conditions. The disease attacks the nerves and can kill or paralyze.

Pakistan, along with Afghanistan and Nigeria, are the only countries in the world where polio remains endemic. Pakistan is the only polio-endemic country in the world where polio cases rose from 2012 to 2013.

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