LAHORE, June 16: Suspicion of Wild Polio Virus in environment and 450 ‘refusal cases’ have alerted the City District Government of Lahore and health authorities, it is learnt.
The authorities have introduced a Short Interval Additional Dose (SIAD) strategy to meet the ‘crisis’ and even sought the police help to cover the remaining children at grave risk of contracting the crippling disease.
A source said the district administration had compiled the data of some 450 children of various localities, whose parents had flatly refused to get polio vaccine administered. The government had decided to vaccinate these children with the help of the police in another intensive round, he said.
The district administration has also handed over list of these unvaccinated children to the city police authorities. Cases will be registered against the parents resisting the move. The source said a total of 13 sewer samples had been drawn from Gulshan-i-Ravi, Multan Road and Outfall Road in May by environment experts. These samples were later sent for analysis to the Polio Virology Laboratory at the National Institute of Health (NIH), Islamabad.
Of the 13 samples, Wild Polio Virus was declared positive in 11 and it sent a wave of shock among the district management and health officials.
The source said Multan and Rawalpindi districts had also been declared high risk due to the presence of Wild Polio Virus. “A certain population of the city is at grave risk these days after the Polio Virology Laboratory at the NIH, Islamabad confirmed presence of Wild Polio Virus,” Lahore Executive District Officer (Health) Dr Inamul Haq told Dawn on Saturday.
He said the district administration had declared a ‘state of high alert’ in the city.
Dr Inam said on the basis of NIH reports, the district administration learnt about the presence of multiple polio cases in these localities. He said since NIH reports had surfaced, extensive efforts had been launched for the search of unidentified polio cases in these localities by several teams comprising environment, health and district government experts.
He said the government had launched SIAD strategy to minimise risk of virus spreading to other healthy children and to protect the unidentified affected children of those localities from where the samples were drawn. He warned that the virus could transmit to the healthy population through air, water and edibles.
“We have administered polio drops to 425,000 children in 50 union councils of the city during the SIAD drive launched from June 13 to 15,” he said.
The localities declared sensitive for anti-polio drive include Ravi Town, Allama Iqbal Town, Data Ganj Bakhsh Town and Gulberg Town.
He said the SIAD strategy was introduced after administering polio vaccine to the targeted children during the National Immunization Days and Sub-National Immunization Days.Answering a question, the EDO said this year too Pakistan remained second in spreading maximum number of polio cases. At present, he said, Nigeria is at the top which has registered so far 30 polio cases in 2012. Pakistan has 16 and Afghanistan six confirmed polio cases.
Of the 16, he said two polio cases were recently detected in Punjab. Dr Inam said the government had launched vigorous anti-polio drives but the presence of Wild Polio Virus and unvaccinated children had sent a wave of shock among the authorities.