LAHORE: Samples of water collected from Lahore’s sewage have been found to be carrying the polio virus for two consecutive months, health authorities said on Thursday.
The Department of Health Punjab confirmed the presence of the polio virus in the city’s sewerage waters after testing samples collected from Outfall Road on July 11. The crippling virus was also found in the sewage samples gathered earlier in June. Polio, or poliomyelitis, is a crippling childhood disease caused by the polio virus, and preventable through immunisation. Pakistan is one of only three countries in the world, along with Afghanistan and Nigeria, that suffers from endemic polio, a childhood virus that can cause paralysis or death. Terming the consistent presence of the virus in Lahore’s sewage a challenge, the health department has summoned a meeting of concerned officials over the issue.
The department has also decided to propose inclusion of all areas of the city in a polio vaccination drive commencing from August 6. The number of cases declined from 306 in 2014 to 54 in 2015, 20 in 2016 and eight in 2017. In 2018, three polio cases have so far been reported – all from Balochistan.