LAHORE - The government efforts to make Lahore polio free through rigorous immunization campaigns received serious blow as two more environmental samples have tested positive, which only confirms the deadly virus is very much there to cripple the coming generation.
Institute of Public Health on Thursday conveyed to the Punjab Government that two environmental samples taken from sewerage of Karim Park and Sanda in June this year were carrying Polio virus.
Positive samples indicate that polio virus is circulating in the sewerage water passing through the nullahs of the community, thus rendering children of the city at a risk of getting polio.
The last environment sample which was tested positive was taken in April from the drain near Main Outfall Pumping Station.
During the current year, 11 environmental samples taken from Lahore and Rawalpindi have been tested positive for Polio virus. Out of these 09 positive environmental samples were taken from Lahore.
World Health Organisation has declared Lahore a high risk city and asked the Punjab Government to take effective measures for controlling circulation of crippling Polio virus in sewerages. WHO has suggested the Punjab Government to immediately carry out special immunization campaign in high risk areas. After getting a nod from the WHO, the Punjab Health Department will carry out one day special campaign in 23 high risk union councils of Lahore on July 16. In addition to this one day drive, the Punjab Health Department has planned to carry out immunization campaign in the entire City during the next month. As many as seven immunization campaigns will be carried out by September 29.
Confirming reports of detection of polio virus in Lahore, senior officials emphasized, “there is a greater need for vaccinating children who are at homes, on the move or in schools”.
“In this situation where samples have been tested positive, health teams will be sent to every community to vaccinate children”, one official said.
“Health department may have to launch additional rounds of vaccination which means repeated polio campaigns”, he reiterated. About frequent rounds of vaccination, he said that repeated dozes were necessary so that a child develops a comprehensive and strong immunity system.
“It’s like building a strong wall of bricks against the disease”, he said adding “this is the reason that several polio campaigns are launched in the country during a year so that not even a single child misses a polio doze”.
According to research findings, it is imperative to administer OPV to over 90 per cent of children during all the campaigns. “If the child is not given OPV the presence of virus in the environment may affect him”, he said.