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World’s Largest Polio Pool Is a Pakistan City

Update Date: Jan 18, 2014 03:53 PM EST

Peshawar, a city in Pakistan is the world's largest pool of the polio virus, according to World Health Organization. 

Around 90 percent of the polio cases in Pakistan can be genetically linked to the city. According the report released by W.H.O., 12 of the 13 cases reported in 2013 in neighboring Afghanistan can be traced back to Peshawar. 

"If you do not take care of this reservoir it will keep threatening other parts of the country as well. Then the final eradication would be much more difficult," said Elias Durry, head of the WHO's eradication efforts in Pakistan, according to Miami Herald

Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria are the only three countries in the world where polio still remains endemic. The announcement comes in an occurrence when Pakistan's neighboring country India has been declared polio free recently.  

The number of polio cases in Pakistan jumped from 58 in 2012 to 91 in 2013, the report said. Majority of the cases were located in the remote tribal regions. 

In recent years, many Pakistanis seeking refuge from fighting in tribal regions end up taking shelter in Peshawar. Those who are infected bring the disease back. 

During in the past six months, when WHO and the government tested samples of sewage water, they found highly contagious polio virus in all samples collected in Peshawar. 

Despite the organizations calling in for repeated vaccination campaigns it is reported that last year roughly 260,000 children were left without vaccinations in North and South Waziristan. 

Recently, the country has been under international pressure to eradicate the disease that usually infects children living in unsanitary conditions. The disease can attack the nerves leaving patients paralyzed and even causes death in extreme cases. 

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