'Rogue doctor' gives hundreds of people HIV with contaminated needle | Eurasia Diary - ednews.net

18 July, Thursday


'Rogue doctor' gives hundreds of people HIV with contaminated needle

'We are helpless. I have other children and I am afraid they might catch the disease'

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More than 500 people have tested positive for HIV in southern Pakistan in an outbreak that local officials have blamed on a rogue paediatrician.

Almost 14,000 individuals have now been screened in the district outside Larkanawhere the sudden spike in HIV incidence was first detected, said Dr Sikandar Memon, the regional coordinator of the Aids Control Programme, Independent reported.

Of those testing positive, 410 are children, Dr Memon told Pakistani newspaper Dawn. He said that another 29 patients tested positive in the most recent round of blood screening on Wednesday at the main hospital in Rato Dero, 25km outside Larkana, seen as the centre of the epidemic.

A doctor accused of infecting his patients through repeated use of a single, contaminated syringe remains in custody since the outbreak was first reported in late April. Dr Muzaffar Ghangharo, who officials said is himself living with HIV, has been charged but denies the allegations.

“We are helpless. I have other children and I am afraid they might catch the disease," a mother whose daughter recently tested positive for HIV told the AFP news agency.

“[Please] send some medicine for our children so that they can be cured. If not, all of our children will die, right?”

The UN says Pakistan now has the second-fastest growing rate of HIV in Asia, with about 20,000 new 

Such outbreaks will continue as long as “the practice of re-using needles and unsafe injection and blood transfusion is common throughout the country”, she told The News Pakistan. “The UN is ready to bring in experts from abroad and introduce best practices… but local authorities [must] prepare mid-term and long term strategies to prevent such outbreaks in future,” she said.

 

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