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Polio virus found in 10 biggest cities of Pakistan: sources

The battle against polio, a crippling and potentially deadly disease, continues to pose significant challenges in Pakistan. Despite concerted efforts by health authorities and organizations, the virus has persisted in various regions, particularly in the country’s largest cities. Recent reports indicate a troubling resurgence of the poliovirus in the ten biggest cities of Pakistan, raising concerns about the effectiveness of vaccination campaigns and the overall state of public health infrastructure.

The Polio Challenge in Pakistan

Pakistan has been grappling with polio for decades, remaining one of the few countries where the virus has yet to be eradicated. Poliovirus transmission primarily occurs in areas with poor sanitation and limited access to clean water, making densely populated urban centers particularly vulnerable. The recent confirmation of the virus in major cities underscores the urgency of addressing these challenges comprehensively.

The Ten Cities Affected

  1. Karachi: Pakistan’s largest city and economic hub, Karachi, has seen a resurgence of polio cases in recent months. Despite repeated vaccination campaigns, the virus has managed to persist in certain pockets of the city, raising concerns about vaccine efficacy and access to marginalized communities.
  2. Lahore: The cultural capital of Pakistan, Lahore, is also among the cities reporting new polio cases. Efforts to vaccinate children have been ongoing, but the virus’s presence highlights the need for more targeted and intensive vaccination drives.
  3. Faisalabad: Known for its textile industry, Faisalabad is another city where polio cases have been detected. Health authorities are working to contain the spread, but the challenges of reaching all children with vaccines remain.
  4. Rawalpindi: Located near the capital Islamabad, Rawalpindi has reported cases of poliovirus transmission. The city’s proximity to government institutions and military installations makes the situation particularly concerning, as the virus could potentially spread to other regions.
  5. Multan: A historic city in southern Punjab, Multan has also faced challenges in eradicating polio. Efforts are underway to intensify vaccination campaigns and improve surveillance to track the virus’s spread.
  6. Gujranwala: As an industrial city in Punjab, Gujranwala has struggled with polio cases despite vaccination efforts. The city’s densely populated areas present difficulties in reaching all children with vaccines, contributing to the virus’s persistence.
  7. Peshawar: In the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, Peshawar has been a focal point of poliovirus transmission. Efforts to vaccinate children have faced resistance from some communities, hindering progress in eradication efforts.
  8. Quetta: The capital of Balochistan, Quetta, has also reported cases of polio. The province’s rugged terrain and security challenges have made vaccination campaigns more challenging, allowing the virus to circulate.
  9. Hyderabad: A major city in Sindh province, Hyderabad, has been grappling with polio cases despite vaccination efforts. The city’s diverse population and mobility pose challenges in ensuring all children receive the necessary doses.
  10. Sialkot: Known for its sports goods industry, Sialkot has reported polio cases, highlighting the need for enhanced vaccination coverage. Efforts are underway to engage local communities and religious leaders to promote vaccination acceptance.

Factors Contributing to the Persistence of Polio

Several factors contribute to the persistence of polio in Pakistan’s largest cities:

  • Inadequate Sanitation: Poor sanitation and lack of access to clean water create environments where the poliovirus can thrive.
  • Vaccine Hesitancy: Despite extensive awareness campaigns, vaccine hesitancy remains a challenge in some communities due to misinformation and misconceptions.
  • Inaccessible Areas: Some neighborhoods in urban centers are difficult to access, making it challenging for vaccination teams to reach all children.
  • Population Mobility: High population mobility within cities and across regions facilitates the spread of the virus.
  • Conflict and Security Challenges: Regions like Peshawar and Quetta face security challenges, which can disrupt vaccination campaigns and surveillance efforts.

The Response

Health authorities and organizations are taking steps to address the resurgence of polio in Pakistan’s largest cities:

  • Intensive Vaccination Campaigns: Targeted vaccination campaigns are being conducted in high-risk areas to ensure all children receive the necessary doses.
  • Community Engagement: Efforts to engage with local communities, religious leaders, and influencers are underway to address vaccine hesitancy and promote acceptance.
  • Surveillance and Monitoring: Enhanced surveillance systems are being implemented to track the spread of the virus and respond quickly to new cases.
  • Public Awareness: Continued public awareness campaigns are vital to dispel myths and misinformation about vaccines and the polio virus.


The resurgence of the poliovirus in Pakistan’s ten biggest cities underscores the persistent challenges faced in eradicating this debilitating disease. While progress has been made, the recent cases highlight the need for sustained efforts, targeted interventions, and community engagement. The fight against polio requires a multi-faceted approach, combining intensive vaccination campaigns, improved surveillance, and public awareness initiatives. Only through collective action can Pakistan hope to eliminate polio and ensure a healthier future for its children.

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