By NewsDesk  @infectiousdiseasenews

Pakistan reported an additional five wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV1) cases this past week–three from Sindh province and two from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

Image/CDC-/ Meredith Boyter Newlove, M.S., James Archer, M.S.

This brings the number of cases in 2020 to 12 and 144 for 2019.

In a recent interview, Prime Minister Imran Khan has said that poliovirus is spreading in the country from Afghanistan. “Special arrangements are being made to monitor cross-border movement of people from Afghanistan and that will help prevent spread of poliovirus,” the prime minister said.

According to the Prime Minister Office (PMO), Mr Khan said that Pakistan’s biggest priority was to eradicate polio from the country as the government was taking all steps in its fight against the ailment.

Khan is also quoted as saying the fact that polio still exists is a “matter of shame”. “We all need to understand that if this disease starts spreading, it would have many repercussions on our country,” the prime minister cautioned. “It would become very hard for our workers who go abroad, for our tourists and businessmen.”

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He said that now that the economy was improving and the government was promoting tourism, it would be a “stain” for Pakistan if people started to believe that the country was “exporting polio”.

A number of countries reported circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus cases this past week, including Nigeria, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Angola and Ethiopia.

With the evolving public health emergency associated with the increase in new emergences of circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2, a draft decision was adapted by the WHO Executive Board during last week’s meeting. Read more