On verge of extinction, polio sweeps through Pakistan thanks to anti-vax movement

polio vaccinating child afghanistan
Image: WHO Afghanistan/S. Ramo

Polio is making a troubling comeback in Pakistan, and it is being driven by some of the same forces spreading measles in the United States.

Two years after health officials declared they were on the verge of eradicating the crippling childhood disease from Pakistan, one of the last countries where it remains endemic, at least 58 children here have tested positive for the virus since January.

That is nearly five times the total of all of last year, and the most in a calendar year since 2014 — a major setback for a $1-billion-a-year global eradication campaign.

Some 2 million Pakistani households have refused immunizations for children since April, when reports circulated on television channels, Facebook and Twitter that children had fallen ill after a vaccination drive at a school in the northern city of Peshawar.

Related article:  3 questions to ask before buying a home DNA test

None of those adverse reactions were serious enough to require hospitalization, according to health officials. But the rumors revived long-standing myths about the dangers of vaccinations.

The resurgence of the virus has embarrassed [Prime Minister Imran] Khan, who pledged to make polio eradication a “topmost priority” and launched a new communication strategy — backed by $10 million from international donors — to combat misinformation.

Read full, original post: Polio was nearly extinct. Then the anti-vaxx movement reached Pakistan

Outbreak
Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
Talking Biotech
Genetics Unzipped
Infographic: What are mRNA COVID-19 vaccines and how do they work?

Infographic: What are mRNA COVID-19 vaccines and how do they work?

As of 1 December 2020, thirteen vaccines have reached the final stage of testing: where they are being given to ...
favicon

Environmental Working Group: EWG challenges safety of GMOs, food pesticide residues

Known by some as the "Environmental Worrying Group," EWG lobbies ...
m hansen

Michael Hansen: Architect of Consumers Union ongoing anti-GMO campaign

Michael K. Hansen (born 1956) is thought by critics to be ...
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
glp menu logo outlined

Newsletter Subscription

Optional. Mail on special occasions.
Send this to a friend