WHO declares Peshawar as world’s largest reservoir of polio

Eurasia News

ISLAMABAD: Peshawar, the capital of Pakistan’s northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, is the world’s largest reservoir of endemic polio viruses, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday.

“With more than 90 percent of the current polio cases in the country genetically linked to Peshawar, the (city) is now the largest reservoir of endemic poliovirus in the world,” the WHO said in a statement, and called for urgent action to boost vaccination to prevent the crippling disease.

The WHO said that 83 out of 91 polio cases in the country during the last year are genetically linked to the poliovirus circulating actively in Peshawar. Moreover, 12 out of the total 13 cases reported during the previous year from Afghanistan are also directly linked to Peshawar.

Polio is also endemic in Afghanistan and Nigeria, but of the three countries only Pakistan saw a rise in cases from 2012 to 2013, said the global health body.