ISLAMABAD: Wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV1) has been detected in sewage samples of two districts of Balochistan and one district of Sindh.

The National Institute of Health has notified that sewage samples collected from Quetta, Chaman and Hyderabad contained WPV1.

These positive samples contained virus which is genetically linked to the imported YB3A genetic cluster of WPV1. This cluster disappeared from Pakistan in 2021, remained in circulation in Afghanistan and was reintroduced through cross-border transmission last year. All positive samples and two polio cases reported this year are linked to this virus.

So far this year, the WPV1 has been found in 38 districts.

According to a statement of the National Institute of Health, the Pakistan Polio Programme has conducted four polio vaccination campaigns, including two nationwide campaigns that covered over 43 million children under the age of five in January and February.

The next campaign is planned in the first week of June.

In Hyderabad, the samples were collected from Tulsidas Pumping Station. The previous five samples were also found positive from the same site.

The Chaman sample was collected from Army Kaziba site. It was ninth positive sample from Chaman district this year.

A source in the National Institute of Health said that in Quetta, the sample was collected from Railway Pul site and it was 18th positive sample from Quetta this year.

Published in Dawn, May 23rd, 2024

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