ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Polio Eradication Programme has detected poliovirus in sewage of 10 cities in the last month.
According to results by the National Emergency Operations Centre, the presence of the poliovirus was confirmed in sewage samples collected from Rawalpindi, Faisalabad, Lahore, Karachi, Sukkur, Killa Abdullah, Quetta, D I Khan, Peshawar and South Waziristan in January.
A sample is considered positive in poliovirus is detected in sewage. A sewage sample from an area is the basic parameter to determine if the polio vaccination campaigns are being carried out successfully. A polio case can be reported in any city due to the frequent movement of people from one city to another, but the presence of the virus in sewage water means that a vaccination campaign in the area did not meet its targets. The presence of the virus in sewage water also shows that the immunity level of the local children has fallen and they are at risk of the disease.
Considering the associated risks, the country’s polio eradication programme has urged parents to ensure children under the age of five are immunised during vaccination campaigns. “The winter months provides the best chance to hit the poliovirus hard. Poliovirus from the sewage of South Waziristan has paralysed a 3-month-old baby in Hangu and poliovirus from the sewage of Lahore has paralysed an 8-month-child in Lahore.