Pakistan has reported its first case of polio in 15 months

After authorities discover the country’s first instance of the devastating neurological disease in 15 months, Pakistan’s prime minister says he will convene an emergency meeting of a national task force for polio eradication.

On Friday, health officials announced the finding of a wild polio case, saying the virus had paralysed a 15-month-old boy in North Waziristan’s westernmost province.

“Deeply saddened to share that a 15-month-old boy has been paralyzed in North Waziristan,” tweeted Shahzad Baig, a coordinator with the National Emergency Operations Centre for Pakistan’s polio eradication programme.

“Pakistan confirms a wild #poliovirus case after nearly 15 months,” he added.

The last instance in the country was discovered in January 2021. Authorities celebrated a year without a single case earlier this year, the first time it had happened since eradication operations began.

Pakistan, along with neighbouring Afghanistan, is one of two nations where polio is still prevalent, despite the fact that case counts have declined dramatically in recent years.

According to data from the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, the case in North Waziristan brings the total number of polio cases in 2022 to three, with one case confirmed in Malawi and two in Afghanistan (GPEI).