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Poliovirus continuously spreading across Pakistan

M Waqar Bhatti
Monday, Jun 17, 2024

ISLAMABAD: Poliovirus is continuously spreading in Pakistan and the Regional Reference Laboratory for Polio Eradication at the National Institute of Health (NIH) Islamabad has confirmed the detection of Type-1 Wild Poliovirus (WPV1) from one new district (Loralai) and two other previously infected districts. This brings the total count of infected districts for the year 2024 to 45, officials said on Sunday.

In Loralai, the environmental sample was collected on 3rd June 2024 from the ‘Rasala Line’ environmental sample collection site, which is the first positive sample from district Loralai this year. The previous positive sample from the district was collected on 17th February 2021, officials said adding that the isolated virus is classified as YB3A cluster and 99.7% genetically linked to the virus detected in a polio case in Killa Abdullah (date of onset of index case was 20th April 2024).

In Islamabad, the environmental sample was collected on 3rd June 2024 from the ‘Sabzi Mandi’ environmental sample collection site, which is the 2nd positive sample from district Islamabad this year. The previous positive sample from the district was collected on 14th February 2024, officials said adding that the isolated virus is classified as YB3A cluster and 99.6% genetically linked to the virus detected in an environmental sample in Swabi on 20th May 2024. In Rawalpindi, the environmental sample was collected on 3rd June 2024 from the ‘Safdarabad’ environmental sample collection site, which is the 2nd positive sample from district Rawalpindi this year.

The previous positive sample from the district was collected on 8th January 2024, officials said adding that the isolated virus is classified as YB3A cluster and 99.5% genetically linked to the virus detected in an environmental sample in Swabi on 20th May 2024.

Officials said total polio cases in 2024 so far are five and environmental detections reached 176, adding that total number of infected districts now stands at 45.