Health


Polio virus found in sewers of Lahore, Karachi


A Pakistani health worker administers polio vaccine drops to a child in Quetta on May 12, 2014. Pakistan will set up mandatory immunisation points at airports to help stop its polio outbreak spreading abroad, officials said, though a health minister said the move played into the Taliban's hands. Photo - AFP

Karachi: Water samples taken from various parts of Pakistan indicate presence of polio virus in Karachi and Lahore, Express News reported yesterday.

According to the polio virology lab at the National Health Institute, samples of sewage water collected from Lahore and Karachi were tested positive for the virus.

The samples taken on April 12, from Lahore's Main Outfall pumping stations confirmed the presence of poliovirus. Traces of the virus were also discovered in three samples taken from Gadap, Machar Colony, Kahmeso Goth and Gulshan-e-Iqbal in Karachi.

Surprisingly, for the first time in the history of Pakistan, polio has not been discovered in sewage water samples taken from Peshawar.

Genetic link
With more than 90 per cent of the current polio cases in the country genetically linked to Peshawar, it is considered the largest reservoir of endemic poliovirus in the world, according to a report by WHO published earlier this year.

On Monday, two fresh samples collected from children in Karachi and North Waziristan Agency were confirmed as poliovirus type 1, causing a rise in the tally of polio cases for the year to 61.

This tally includes 47 cases from the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, nine from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and five from Sindh.

Out of the five cases reported in Sindh this year, three have emerged from Gadap Town.

Refusal rate is very high in this area along with the law and order situation which deters workers from visiting each house in the area hampering any efforts towards eradication of the virus.

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