Number of polio cases in Pakistan highest in 14 years

Insight

This month Pakistan broke a 14-year record for the highest number of polio cases in a year. Militants continue to block vaccination efforts. CCTV America’s Danial Khan reports.

Pakistan is one of only three countries in the world where polio remains endemic, but efforts to stamp it out have been taken a hit in recent years by attacks on immunization teams.

Number of polio cases in Pakistan highest in 14 years

Number of polio cases in Pakistan highest in 14 years

This month Pakistan broke a 14-year record for the highest number of polio cases in a year. Militants continue to block vaccination efforts. CCTV America's Danial Khan reports.

The number of polio cases in Pakistan this year has reached 206, surpassing its record of 199 in 2000. Officials believe the figure is likely to rise by end of the year.

At least 64 people, including health workers and security personnel, have been killed in militant attacks on polio vaccination teams since December 2012.

Physician Masood Khan Jogezai says 80 percent of the cases reported are from the troubled northwestern tribal areas that border Afghanistan and are home to Pakistani Taliban and al Qaeda militants.

The militants alleged polio vaccination is a cover for surveillance or Western-conspiracy to sterilize Muslims. Officials say tens of thousands of children are missing the polio eradication campaign every year due to the situation in tribal areas. They also cite family and parents unwilling or afraid to vaccinate.

According to health experts, the number of cases is likely to increase in the remaining months of the year as the disease has spread rapidly.