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December 7, 2019
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Setback for Pakistan fight against polio: Virus detected in sewage of eight cities

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s ongoing fight against the crippling polio disease suffered a blow after environmental survey confirmed the presence of the virus in the sewage of eight cities across the country.

The environmental survey conducted by polio eradication programme during last month has detected the presence of the virus in the sewage of eight cities of the country.

This was announced by the Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination on Monday.

The results shared by National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC) showed the presence of poliovirus in sewage samples collected from Karachi, Peshawar, Bannu, Lahore, Rawalpindi, Killa Abdullah, Pishin and Quetta during December 2018.

Samples of sewage water are collected on a monthly basis from 58 sampling sites across Pakistan. The samples are sent to the regional reference laboratory in the National Institute of Health (NIH) in Islamabad.

National Coordinator Emergency Operation Centre for Polio Dr Rana Safdar said that while case counts were declining, as long as the virus was present anywhere in the country, the threat of the virus for vulnerable children remained.

“To finally eradicate the virus, vaccinating all children against all preventable diseases including polio is imperative both in routine as well as in special door to door campaigns,” Dr Safdar added.