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About 500 people test positive for HIV in Pakistani district

AP  |  Ratodero (Pakistan) 

Nothing seemed unusual to Rehmana Bibi, the mother of 10-year-old Ali Raza, when the boy came down with a at their home in the dusty, largely neglected district of in southern

Bibi took her son to a local doctor, who prescribed paracetamol syrup for Raza and told her there was no need to worry. But she panicked after being alerted that several children who initially came down with a had tested positive for in nearby villages.

Alarmed, Bibi took Raza to a hospital where medical tests confirmed the boy was among about 500 people, mostly children, who authorities say tested positive for the virus, which can lead to A who has has since been arrested and is being investigated for possibly intentionally infecting patients.

"We were in great the day we heard about our son testing positive," she told on Thursday.

Bibi said it was heartbreaking to learn that her child contracted at such a young age. She said all her family members have been tested for the virus that attacks the immune system, but Raza was found to be the only victim.

Bibi said she has had sleepless nights from worrying and has been looking after her son since early this month when he was confirmed HIV-positive. She said she wants to see her son healthy and fully recovered as soon as possible.

Sikandar Memon, of the Control Program in province, said officials have screened 13,800 people from and 410 children and 100 adults tested positive for HIV.

Nationwide, has registered over 23,000 HIV cases. Pakistani health officials have said HIV is usually spread in the country by using unsterilized syringes.

Authorities say the HIV outbreak in was apparently started when Muzaffar Ghangharo, who has AIDS, infected patients in early April.

Ghangharo was arrested earlier this month after Raza and others tested positive for the virus. Police are still trying to determine whether Ghangharo knowingly spread the to others.

Larkana is the home district of former Benazir Bhutto, who was killed in a bomb and gun attack in the garrison city of in 2007. Her father, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, also served as in the 1970s. He was hanged by military dictator Gen.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, May 17 2019. 01:35 IST
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