As of June 3, more than 700 people have been infected with HIV in Larkana, Sindh province, Pakistan, and more than 600 of these infections are among children, according to WHO.
Maryam Yunus, national professional officer of communications with WHO, confirmed that Pakistan authorities arrested an HIV-positive pediatrician in late May in relation to the outbreak. Yunus said that WHO has not yet confirmed the source of the infections, but the physician remains a central figure in the investigation.
WHO previously announced that it would be working to address the outbreak — which has predominantly affected children aged younger than 5 years — along with the Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network. Yunus told Infectious Diseases in Children that an international response team is currently focusing on four areas: outbreak investigation, ensuring the safety of blood transfusions, infection prevention and control, and community outreach. In the coming days, the team will put together recommendations based its findings. The release of these recommendations is tentatively planned for either June 14 or 15.
HIV screening camps have been established in Larkana, and residents are urged to be tested for infection, Yunus said. – by Katherine Bortz
Disclosure: Yunus reports no relevant financial disclosures.