After infecting hundreds of people in Punjab, the epidemic of conjunctivitis has reached Peshawar.
On Monday, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) health department said 16 people have been affected by the epidemic.
Some 15 cases were reported from Tehsil Mitra and Shah Alam, and one case each from Khazana, Saeedabad, Pakha Ghulam, and Gara Tajik.
The health department has urged people to take precautions to avoid contracting conjunctivitis, which is a highly contagious viral infection of the eye.
Symptoms of conjunctivitis include redness, swelling, and discharge from the eye.
Earlier in the day, the use of Avastin injection to treat the prevalent eye infection has been challenged in the Lahore High Court.
The caretaker Punjab government and others have been made parties in the petition filed by Advocate Rana Sikandar.
It sought an order for barring the use of the substandard injection and taking action against those responsible.
Meanwhile, the Punjab government has decided to take action against the drug inspector.
The health department says that an inquiry will be conducted as to how the injection was divided from one vial and supplied further.
Two more hospitals in Lahore have been asked to stop the usage of the injection. The health department said all the samples of Avastin are being tested.
It further said that a report will be finalized in the next 24 to 48 hours.
The patients whose vision has been affected due to Avastin injection have been shifted to hospitals by the Punjab government.
Six patients are under treatment at MAO Hospital, while 19 are under treatment in Multan, Khanewal has reported eight patients, Kasur four.
Most of the patients are being shifted to Lahore, while some are being advised medication at home.
DRAP recalls injection
Meanwhile, the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) has decided to ban the use and sale of the injection and issued a written circular for recalling it, saying the purpose for which it was being used was also not sanctioned.
Samples of the injection have also been recalled from Shaukat Khanum among other hospitals.
Samples of the stock of medicines at Shaukat Khanum hospital will be tested.
It also released the images of registered and unregistered injections and said its off label was being used.
DRAP also said that the injection under discussion was not approved for diabetic retinopathy nor for the purpose it was being used.
According to DRAP sources, the ban would be temporary and the import of the injection has been stopped.
According to the sources, the distribution of the registered Avastin injection is also being barred.
On the other hand, 11 drug inspectors have been suspended by the Punjab government in various districts of the province. They will remain suspended till completion of the investigation.
Situation in Multan
More patients of the eye infection have come to the fore from a private clinic in Multan. As per Dr Faisal Raza Qaisarani, the Multan health CEO, seven people were administered the injection in one eye each.
Owing to this, five of the people have lost 90% vision in that eye. The eyesight of the remaining two has been affected 40-50% in the eye where they were administered the injection, Dr Faisal said.
He further said that all the patients are being treated by the private clinic.
Six of the seven patients belong to Multan and the seventh to Dera Ghazi Khan. Dr Faisal quoted the patients as saying that the injection was provided by Dr Ali Bodla.
He further said that a reference is being sent to the Punjab Healthcare Commission for action against the clinic and the doctor responsible.
According to the health CEO, there are 10 patients of reaction from the injection out of whom three have been referred here from Jhang; they are being treated at Nishtar Hospital.
He claimed that the injection is not available in Multan and is being made and supplied by a private hospital in Lahore.