The Pakistan Polio Laboratory at the National Institute of Health (NIH) has confirmed the detection of wild poliovirus in an environmental sample from the district of Lower South Waziristan (SW) of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province. According to the lab, wild poliovirus type 1 was isolated from a sewage sample collected from Qureshi Mohalla in the district’s Wacha Khaura Union council on April 19. “The virus is genetically linked to poliovirus found in sewage samples collected from the same district in September 2022.” Federal Health Minister Abdul Qadir Patel said, “The detection of poliovirus in the environment is an indication that Pakistan’s polio surveillance system is working efficiently to locate virus circulation and take steps to prevent any further transmission.” The minister said, “Until we eradicate polio in Pakistan, the virus will continue to be a threat to children here and everywhere. Parents and caregivers, it is imperative that you understand the risk to your children and make sure that they receive polio drops in every campaign. This is the only way to ensure lifelong immunity for them.” He added, “A polio campaign is beginning in over 70 districts on May 15 and in southern KP on May 29, which is the perfect opportunity for parents to get their children vaccinated at their doorstep.” Coordinator of the National Emergency Operations Centre for Polio Eradication Dr Shahzad Baig said, “In the last stages of eradication, the virus can find refuge and thrive in under-immunised communities, which is why the seven endemic districts of southern Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa are of high concern for the Polio Programme.” He said, “Through intensive efforts after last year’s outbreak in southern KP, we have succeeded in containing the virus in this region. Here, the programme is maintaining a sharp focus on repeated quality campaigns, increased polio surveillance, increasing vaccine acceptance and improving overall routine immunization rates.” “The Pakistan Polio Programme is already testing for poliovirus at 114 fixed environmental sites in the country every month.” “To further enhance surveillance in high-risk areas, it has also been collecting additional sewage samples from multiple sites in southern KP periodically, and this latest detection is from one such collection site. ” Dr Shahzad Baig said, “This prompt detection will enable the programme to plan a swift response and protect children from paralytic polio.” “This is the first positive environmental sample from Lower SW this year where the last human case was reported in August 2022. So far this year, one human case and six positive samples have been reported from Pakistan,” he added. It is pertinent to mention here no human case had been reported outside the endemic southern KP region in over two years.