According to the Pakistan's Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) at least 128 polio cases have been reported nationwide as of Sunday, January 5, since the start of 2019, mostly in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh, and Punjab provinces. 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.