Pakistani health authorities reported two cases of polio on Sunday, September 8, in the provinces of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh. As of early September, a total of 62 cases of polio have been confirmed throughout Pakistan in 2019, including 46 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province alone. Further spread of the disease is possible in the coming weeks and months.
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.
An effective vaccine against the disease exists. In late September, the Pakistani government launched a polio vaccination campaign aimed at immunizing 38.6 million children under the age of five.
Individuals in Pakistan are advised to verify their vaccination status and monitor developments to the situation.
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