MONITORING

PESHAWAR

Eleven new cases of polio surfaced on Friday in Khyber Pakhtunkhawa and Fata, increasing the number of cases so far this year to 138.

Official sources confirmed that the new cases, reported to health authorities and polio programs, include three from KP and eight from Fata. Giving the breakup of cases, sources said that Bara Khyber Agency has the highest number with four cases, South Waziristan and North Waziristan Agency two each, while two cases in Bannu and Tank each.

The sources further said that the high transmission season, from July to December, usually has more cases, a trend which has been witnessed in the last decade.

Comparatively, last year’s figures were 31 by September 2013. This year’s total has reached 138, with Fata on top with 102 cases. KP with 23, Sindh 11, Balochistan and Punjab both had one case each.

In Fata, the number of cases reported includes 64 from North Waziristan, 25 from Khyber Agency, 11 from South Waziristan and two from Bannu.

The fragile security situation across Fata and KP has left bordering towns high risk areas, which are more vulnerable to the virus spreading.

Earlier, Khyber Agency administration claimed that the P-3 polio virus has been eliminated from Bara while P-1 was still prevalent and that a special three-day campaign was being launched from September 8 to administer anti-polio vaccine to children.

Political Agent of Khyber Agency Shahab Ali Shah, speaking to the media in Peshawar, said that the agency has always been portrayed negatively because of the polio virus spreading.

He said that most of the areas remained inaccessible to polio teams which caused the problem.

Shah said however that special drives are being carried out to address the issue.

He also said that the United Arab Emirates government has extended a special package for the vaccinators, while the political administration will also award special remuneration for the campaign, which will be carried out under strict security.