By NewsDesk  @infectiousdiseasenews

Two countries in the world continue to report ongoing wild poliovirus transmission (WPV1)–Pakistan and Afghanistan. 2019 saw a big increase in WPV1 cases, particularly in Pakistan.

Afghanistan Pakistan map/Public domain image- Pahari Sahib

During the past year, Pakistan saw it’s numbers of WPV1 cases rise to 134, more than 10 times the number reported in 2018, with cases distributed as follows: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (91), Sindh (24), Balochistan (11) and Punjab (8). This total is higher than recent years, when 54, 20, 8 and 12 cases were reported in from 2015-2018, respectively.

In 2014, Pakistan saw 306 cases and if you go back a few decades, the early 1990s, the annual incidence of polio was estimated at more than 20,000 cases a year.

Pakistan has experienced serious difficulties in their battle with polio. A UN-funded drive to vaccinate all kids under the age of five faces opposition from Islamist militants and religious conservatives, who believe the vaccine, administered in multiple rounds, is intended to make Muslim children sterile.

The militants have killed hundreds of health workers and the police officers who guard them.

Afghanistan reported 28 WPV1 cases in 2019, bringing the global total to 156.

In addition to the increase in WPV1 in 2019, circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus  (cVDPV) cases increased to 249. Angola, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Nigeria reported the most cases with 86, 63 and 18, respectively.

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