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Pakistan polio cases hit record high in 14 years


Polio cases in Pakistan have hit the highest number in 14 years, with health officials blaming the rise on attacks on immunization teams.

The number of new cases so far in 2014 is 202, already exceeding the previous the high of 199 cases in 2001.

Most of the infections are in the north-western tribal region where militants have targeted health teams.

Militants there accuse doctors of being spies and say the vaccinations are part of a Western plot to sterilize Muslims.

Polio cases in Pakistan have hit the highest number in 14 years, with health officials blaming the rise on attacks on immunization teams

Polio cases in Pakistan have hit the highest number in 14 years, with health officials blaming the rise on attacks on immunization teams

Suspicions over the programs worsened after the US was accused of using a fake vaccination program during its tracking of al-Qaeda chief Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan in 2011.

Since December 2012, about 60 people, including health workers and police providing security to medical teams, have been killed by Taliban militants targeting polio teams.

Pakistan has failed to curb the disease despite massive investment on immunization programs by the international community.

Earlier this year, the World Health Organization (WHO) imposed travel restrictions on the country meaning all Pakistanis must now carry proof of vaccination before travelling abroad.

Pakistan is one of three countries where polio is endemic – the other two being Afghanistan and Nigeria.

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