Polio usually infects children living in unsanitary conditions, attacks the nerves, and can kill or paralyze. A total of 56 polio cases have been reported in Pakistan during 2012, down from 190 the previous year, according to the United Nations. Most of the new cases in Pakistan are in the northwest, where the presence of militants makes it difficult to reach children.
Despite the obstacles, the government has teamed up with U.N. agencies to give oral polio drops to 34 million children under the age 5. Clerics and tribal elders have been recruited to support polio vaccinations in an attempt to open up areas previously inaccessible to health workers.
Associated Press writer Rasool Dawar in Peshawar, Pakistan, contributed to this report.