The government launched a week-long polio vaccination campaign across the county on Monday, September 24. According to health officials, the campaign will target 38.6 million children under the age of five. On Monday, a guard protecting vaccination workers was shot and killed near the village of Dabra (Bajur tribal district). No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack; however, officials said that several people have been arrested in connection to the shooting. Further attacks targeting health officials are possible during the vaccination campaign.
Dozens of anti-polio workers have been killed in Pakistan in recent years due to conspiracies that the vaccines are intended to make Muslim children sterile.
Poliomyelitis, or Polio, is an infectious disease caused by the transmission of the poliovirus through the intestines. The poliovirus is typically transmitted from one person to another by ingesting food or water containing infected fecal matter; in rare instances, it can be spread through infected saliva. Most poliovirus infections are asymptomatic while minor symptoms include fever, headache, and sore throat. One percent of infections enter the central nervous system, causing neck, back, and extremity pain, vomiting, and lethargy.
Individuals in Pakistan are advised to verify their vaccination status and monitor developments to the situation.
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