KARACHI - The district government will start the postponed anti-polio campaign from January 7 (today) in various districts of the metropolis, despite the fact that the Taliban have already issued threats against the drive in Pakistan, where persistent wild poliovirus transmission is restricted to three groups of districts: Karachi city, a group of districts in Balochistan province, and districts in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.A senior official of the district government told The Nation that this would be a hard target for the district government to hold the present campaign peacefully in the city because during the last suspended three-day polio eradication campaign (December 17 to19) as many as five polio vaccinators, including four women, were killed by extremists. Following the severity of the incident, Sindh Health Minister Dr Sagheer Ahmed had suspended the campaign in the whole province. He said, “However, the decision to reschedule the campaign was taken in a meeting headed by the deputy commissioner, central. The meeting was attended by senior officials of the Home Department, Rangers and police. It was decided that vaccinators would be provided foolproof security. They would be guarded by police and rangers teams, while the wage of the vaccinators has also been increased by Rs250 to Rs500.” According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), “Polio is a highly infectious disease caused by a virus. It invades the nervous system, and can cause total paralysis in a matter of hours. The virus enters the body through the mouth and multiplies in the intestine. Initial symptoms are fever, fatigue, headache, vomiting, and stiffness in the neck and pain in the limbs. One in 200 infections leads to irreversible paralysis (usually in the legs). Among those paralysed, 5 per cent to 10 per cent die when their breathing muscles become immobilized. There is no cure for polio, it can only be prevented. Polio vaccine, given multiple times, can protect a child for life.” It is pertinent to mention here that Pakistan’s inclusion in the 20 polio endemic countries of the world makes it an important polio reservoir.