HIV outbreak in Pakistan: International team to probe

HIV (Human immunodeficiency virus).
The Sindh health department blamed 'quacks' or unqualified practitioners for reusing syringes which is one of the major source of HIV spread among the general population, especially children. Image source: IANS
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Islamabad: An international team, comprising experts from the World Health Organization (WHO), Center for Disease Control (CDC), Unicef and Unaids, will arrive in Pakistan on Tuesday to probe the latest HIV outbreak in Sindh province.

"Led-by Oliver Morgan, Director of Health Emergency Information and Risk Assessment, in the Health Emergencies Programme of WHO, a 12-member international team comprising experts from CDC Atlanta, Georgia, Unicef and Unaids is landing today in Karachi to investigate the root cause of the latest HIV outbreak in Ratodero area of Larkana", an official of the WHO told The News International.

As of Monday, 700 people including 576 children were tested positive for HIV since the outbreak was first reported on April 25.

The Sindh health department blamed "quacks" or unqualified practitioners for reusing syringes which is one of the major source of HIV spread among the general population, especially children.

But national and international experts were not satisfied with the investigations so far largely being carried out by experts from the University of Karachi.

Fearing a ‘foul play' in the recent HIV outbreak in Larkana, officials associated with the international health organisations said that although the "reuse of syringes" was emerging as "most likely cause of HIV outbreak" in Larkana, epidemiologists both in Pakistan as well as around the globe were not "satisfied" and have several questions as to why such a large number of children are infected, which is an unusual pattern.

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