Is Pakistan Hiding a Polio Outbreak?

Pakistani authorities have fervently denied allegations that they are covering up an outbreak of the most dangerous strain of polio, Newsweek Pakistan reports.

Yesterday The Guardian reported that a dozen children had been infected with the P2 strain—but that instead of declaring an outbreak, authorities planned a covert vaccination campaign set to begin Monday.

All polio cases are supposed to be reported to international health bodies.

Why hide? To conceal “terrible mismanagement” of the country’s polio fight under former polio czar Babar Bin Atta, sources told The Guardian. The vaccine-derived P2 cases allegedly emerged after P2 was declared eliminated in Pakistan in 2014.

At that point, live-strain P2 vaccines should have been pulled from hospitals and clinics. But a child was given the vaccine and became a carrier.

Pakistan, 1 of 2 countries where polio remains endemic, saw a big jump in cases in 2018 under Bin Atta.

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