You choose, we deliver
If you are interested in this story, you might be interested in others from The Journal Gazette. Go to www.journalgazette.net/newsletter and pick the subjects you care most about. We'll deliver your customized daily news report at 3 a.m. Fort Wayne time, right to your email.

Health

  • Team set for Ebola boot camp
    The Pentagon announced Sunday that it will create a 30-person team of medical experts that could quickly leap into a region of the United States if new Ebola cases emerge there, providing support for civilian doctors who lack proficiency in fighting
  • Paralyzed groom walks with device
    New York resident Matt Ficarra has been paralyzed from the chest down since an accident three years ago, but that didn’t stop him from walking down the aisle.
  • Friends, family of Ebola patient reach milestone
    FORT WORTH, Texas — As her boyfriend Thomas Eric Duncan lay dying of Ebola in a Dallas hospital bed, Louise Troh battled loneliness and fear that she too had contracted the disease while confined to a stranger's home under armed
Advertisement

Pakistan polio fighters confront myth, reality

– They gathered in a small room in one of this city’s worst slums, a dozen mothers sitting cross-legged with toddlers and newborns on their laps, listening to advice about polio prevention.

“Keep your children from playing in garbage cans and sewer drains,” said Saddaf Malik, a brightly dressed young woman from UNICEF.

Simple enough, but then came the questions, spiked with suspicion and indicative of why Pakistan remains one of three countries in the world where the paralyzing disease still thrives despite constant campaigns in recent years to defeat it.

Why, some mothers wondered, were the vaccination teams coming back once a month, instead of every three months like they used to? Were the repeated doses of the red drops meant to induce sterility in Muslims?

The polio fighters looked crestfallen. They thought this dangerous myth was dead in Lahore – a sprawling city with an estimated 1.5 million young children that logged just one polio case a year ago and none since.

Troubling, too, was the confirmation of the polio virus in 16 of 28 sewage samples taken so far this year in Lahore, a marked increase over 2011. And three successive positive samples – in July, August and September – have raised worries about the virus’ “silent circulation,” as World Health Organization officials call it.

“We take it very seriously if there is even one positive sample,” said Ni’ma Abid, a WHO senior medical officer. “It means you have polio in the community.”

Advertisement