Genomic sequencing of poliovirus shows links to Afghanistan.

ISLAMABAD -- The genomic sequencing of the only poliovirus, detected from the sewage water in Pakistan during the current year, shows that the virus belongs to Nangarhar province of Afghanistan.

The Type-1 Wild Poliovirus (WPV1) in an environmental sample was detected in Lahore district (Gulshan Ravi, ES site) during the current month.

The genomic sequencing is a process to decipher the genetic material found in an organism or virus. Sequences from specimens can be compared to help scientists track the spread of the virus, how it is changing and how those changes may affect the public health.

In first week of January environmental samples were collected from 38 cities of Pakistan. Of these samples, 37 were found negative at the National Institute of Health (NIH). The cities declared negative for presence of the virus included Bannu, Dera Ismail Khan, Peshawar, Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Sialkot, Qilla Abdullah, Quetta, Karachi and Southern KP region.

The sewage samples are important in detecting the virus' prevalence in a country. If the virus is found in samples collected from any area, it is called positive. These samples are a basic parameter to determine the success of polio campaigns. The presence of the poliovirus in sewage also shows low immunity in children and they are at risk of catching the virus.

According to a statement issued by the NIH, the virus found in Gulshan Ravi had links to a poliovirus found in Nangarhar province of Afghanistan in November last year.

Federal Minister for Health Abdul Qadir Patel said that Pakistan and Afghanistan were together in their fight against polio virus.

'While the isolation of the virus is a cause of concern, it is excellent to note that it was detected promptly. This timely detection of the virus in the environment is crucial in protecting the children from being paralysed by the...

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