Suicide without bombs: Pakistan warns of ‘serious’ polio outbreak

Daily Times: Health officials on Wednesday warned of a serious polio outbreak after the disease was detected in 16 children in North Waziristan where militant groups have banned vaccination.

Doctor Khayal Mir Jan, the top health official in North Waziristan, on the Afghan border, told AFP that thousands of children were at risk.

Pakistan is one of only three countries in the world where the highly infectious, crippling disease remains endemic. Infections shot up from a low of 28 in 2005 to almost 200 last year. “Polio virus has been detected in 16 children since the Taliban ban,” Jan told AFP.

“We are waiting for the result of the stool samples of another 42 children suspected of having the disease.”

Local warlord Hafiz Gul Bahadur banned polio vaccinations in Waziristan in June 2012, alleging the campaign was a cover for espionage.

Bahadur, who is allied with Afghan Taliban fighting US-led troops across the border, said the ban would remain until the US stops drone attacks in the tribal regions. North Waziristan has borne the brunt of the strikes.

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Categories: Asia

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