Local officials in the southern Pakistani district of Larkana are blaming a rogue pediatrician after more than 500 people tested positive for HIV, The Independent reported Thursday.
A report in the Pakistani newspaper Dawn quotes Memon saying of the group testing positive for the disease, 410 are children. An additional 29 patients tested positive in the most recent blood screening testing Wednesday at the main hospital in Rato Dero, 25km outside Larkana, which has been cited as the center of the epidemic.
The doctor believed responsible for the outbreak, Muzaffar Ghangharo, has been charged but denies the allegations, The Independent reported. Officials accused him in late April of infecting his patients through repeated use of a single, contaminated syringe, the report said. Ghangharo himself is infected with HIV.
Authorities continue to examine the possibility the outbreak is the result of gross, widespread negligence in a region which has a high prevalence of shady medical practices, the newspaper reported.
UNAids said international partner organisations had joined local teams to try and contain and investigate the outbreak, The Independent reported. In a statement, it said there were concerns about 600,000 unqualified doctors unlawfully operating in Pakistan, 270,000 of them in Sindh province where Larkana is located.