1-Dec-14 11:00 AM  CST

Polio Virus a Real Threat in Pakistan

While most of the World’s attention has been centered around the Ebola virus these days, another deadly virus has reared its head in the Middle East. The Washington Post is reporting that Pakistan has been struggling with its own epidemic. 200 new cases of polio have been reported in Pakistan in 2014. Despite being near eradication in most other parts of the World, including the US, Polio has seen resurgence over the last decade.

            According to the World Health Organization Pakistan accounts for more than 80% of the reported World cases of Polio. Officials worry if the virus is not contained that it will jump international borders, and epidemic status once again. As we have seen in the case of Ebola, international health agencies have already been worn thin.

            Pakistan is one of the last countries of the World to struggle with eradication of the Polio various, primarily because vaccinating their children has been so difficult. Skepticism from parents and religious leaders, villages that are out of reach, and extremist Islamic groups have all been issues for vaccination groups trying desperately to reach Pakistan’s children. In a country chronically torn by war, reaching those who need the vaccine the most is sometimes an impossible task.

            Some of the distrust from Pakistan’s citizens comes from former vaccination campaigns that were actually information gathering campaigns conducted by the CIA in order to help find Assam Bin Laden. Islamist militants killed more than 50 healthcare workers trying to vaccinate children in 2012 after the news of the CIA’s campaign spread. Despite the issues related to vaccination, the World Health Organization states that more than 450 doses of the Polio vaccine have been administered in Pakistan. Through a heightened awareness of security international health agencies continue their campaign to vaccinate Pakistan’s children even though the process continues to be difficult at best.





Craig, T., (2014) “Polio Becomes a ‘Public Health Emergency’ in Pakistan as Number of Cases Soar” Washington Post, http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/polio-becomes-public-health-emergency-in-pakistan-as-number-of-cases-soars/2014/10/07/9b6a065e-4e3e-11e4-8c24-487e92bc997b_story.html, retrieved, 1. December 2014

Walsh, D., (2014) “Polio Crisis Deepens in Pakistan, With New Cases and Killings”, New York Times, http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/27/world/asia/gunmen-in-pakistan-kill-4-members-of-anti-polio-campaign.html?ref=health, retrieved, 1. December 2014

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Source: Sandy Andrews  

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