Pakistan: Wild poliovirus detected in an environmental sample in Lahore

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The first Pakistani detection of wild poliovirus was detected in 2023 in an environmental sample in Lahore.

Photo/Robert Herrmann

The Pakistan Polio Laboratory at the National Institute of Health said that the virus found in Gulshan Ravi has links to the polio virus that was found in Nangarh, Afghanistan last November.

Federal Health Minister Abdul Qadir Patel said that Pakistan and Afghanistan are working together in the fight against polio. While isolating the virus is a cause for concern, it is good to note that it was caught right away. Such timely detection of the virus in the environment is critical to protecting children from becoming paralyzed by poliovirus.”

The national immunization campaign, which concluded on January 20y Children have been vaccinated in the Lahore department, while additional campaigns will be conducted in February and March to tackle the outbreak.

This is not unexpected, said Dr. Shahzad Baig, coordinator of the National Emergency Operations Center (NEOC) as Pakistan and Afghanistan are considered as one epidemiological hurdle in which poliovirus is being transmitted across borders due to the presence of large-scale population movement.

“Last year, we worked closely with the Afghanistan program and treated the virus in either country as our own. Neither Pakistan nor Afghanistan can be polio-free until both countries can stop transmission.

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The only way to stop the virus in its tracks is to vaccinate all children under the age of five. “It is very important that parents and carers, especially in Lahore, ensure that their children are vaccinated in the February round,” Minister Patel added.

The last polio case from Lahore was in July 2020, but the virus has been periodically detected in sewage. Last year, four environmental samples were found positive for wild poliovirus in Lahore district.



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