KARACHI: The Sindh health authorities hinted on Saturday that they could not “exclude measles virus as a risk factor of outbreak” that killed several people including children, over the past few days after inhaling toxic gases emitting from nearby factories in Ali Mohammad Goth of Keamari district, but remained cautious to jumping to conclusions before “confirmation of blood sample” reports.

In a fresh report sharing initial findings of the investigation into the incident, the authorities mentioned the objective of the exercise as to identify cases, determine magnitude, find out associated risk factors of the cases and deaths and its source.

“Some 40 people or 81 per cent of the infected people were in the age group of less than 11 years,” the report said.

“All were unvaccinated against routine [immunisations] and measles. During active search in the community team observed cases of suspected measles. Some chance of infected person cannot be excluded due to incubation period. So on the basis of above-findings we cannot exclude the measles virus as a risk factor of outbreak until the confirmation of blood samples,” the report stated.

It referred to the observations of the health department team, which noticed/ observed “a very foul smell in the affected area during the visit on dated Jan 26, 2023”.

District administration locates graves of 17 persons who died during 15 days

All infected cases and deaths were living, it said, in the surrounding area of the factory at approximate distance of 10-20 feet, which identified using rubber, plastic, stone, powder and oil.

“According to residents of the affected area a sudden surge of shortness of breath cases surfaced after the start of the factory from Jan, 5 2023,” it said.

“Some 26 [affected] people or 53 per cent cases are living in six families. After the closing of factories on Jan 26, 2023 team and residents observed an absence of foul smell in the infected area during a visit on Jan 27, 2023. So on the basis of above-findings, more cases and deaths were reported where factories are present,” the report said.

Meanwhile, the district administration with the assistance of staff in area graveyard identified the graves of some 17 victims.

Ramzan, the gravedigger, confirmed that 17 bodies had been buried over the past two weeks. Of 17 bodies, seven were of females while the other 10 of males. Some 15 of the deceased were minors while two women were 28 and 35 years of age, officials said.

Published in Dawn, January 29th, 2023

Opinion

Editorial

Wheat price crash
Updated 20 May, 2024

Wheat price crash

What the government has done to Punjab’s smallholder wheat growers by staying out of the market amid crashing prices is deplorable.
Afghan corruption
20 May, 2024

Afghan corruption

AMONGST the reasons that the Afghan Taliban marched into Kabul in August 2021 without any resistance to speak of ...
Volleyball triumph
20 May, 2024

Volleyball triumph

IN the last week, while Pakistan’s cricket team savoured a come-from-behind T20 series victory against Ireland,...
Border clashes
19 May, 2024

Border clashes

THE Pakistan-Afghanistan frontier has witnessed another series of flare-ups, this time in the Kurram tribal district...
Penalising the dutiful
19 May, 2024

Penalising the dutiful

DOES the government feel no remorse in burdening honest citizens with the cost of its own ineptitude? With the ...
Students in Kyrgyzstan
Updated 19 May, 2024

Students in Kyrgyzstan

The govt ought to take a direct approach comprising convincing communication with the students and Kyrgyz authorities.