Poliovirus detected in Karachi, Islamabad, Rawalpindi sewage samples

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SLAMABAD: Three environmental (sewage) samples have tested positive for the poliovirus in three major cities including Karachi, confirmed the National Institute of Health (NIH) Islamabad.

The News reported citing the officials as saying that the samples were collected in December 2023 and tested positive for the Type-1 Wild Poliovirus (WPV1) in Karachi East, Islamabad and Rawalpindi.

In Karachi East, the environmental sample was collected on December 13, 2023, from the Sohrab Goth environmental sample collection site, which is the 14th positive sample from District East this year.

The previous 13 positive samples were collected in May, September, October, November and December, officials said, adding that the isolated virus is classified as a YB3A cluster and 99.44% is genetically linked to the virus detected in an environmental sample in the same district (i.e. Karachi East) on November 13, 2023.

In Islamabad, the environmental sample was collected on December 12, 2023, from the Sabzi Mandi environmental sample collection site, making it the second positive sample from District Islamabad for 2023.

The previous positive sample was collected on December 11, 2023, officials said, adding that the isolated virus is classified as a YB3A cluster and 99.6% genetically linked to the virus detected in an environmental sample in Peshawar on December 6, 2023.

In Rawalpindi, the environmental sample was collected on December 11, 2023, from the Dhok Dalal environmental sample collection site, which is the fourth positive sample from District Rawalpindi for 2023.

The previous three positive samples were collected on July 17, August 10 and October 2, 2023, officials said, adding that the isolated virus is classified as a YB3A cluster and 99.6% genetically linked to the virus detected in an environmental sample in Peshawar on December 6, 2023.

These new detections take the total number of positive environmental (sewage) samples in Pakistan in 2023 to 115. Moreover, the number of human polio cases in Pakistan in 2023 remains at six.

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