Ebola Virus: (WHO rejects report about patient’s death due to Ebola)

ISLAMABAD: The National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination (NHSR&C) and World Health Organisation (WHO) on Tuesday clarified that a patient in Faisalabad who was suspected of contracting the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) was, in fact, in the terminal stage of hepatitis C, coupled with an episode of dengue hemorrhagic fever.

The patient, Zulfiqar Ahmad, suspect of contracting EVD, passed away at the Allied Hospital in Faisalabad on Monday night. After his death, Punjab chief minister Shahbaz Sharif took notice and directed the health authorities to investigate the matter and submit a report to him.

The 40-year-old Zulfiqar Ahmad was a resident of Chiniot district and had returned to Pakistan on November 16 from West Africa where he had been working for the last three years.

The deceased was initially suspected to be suffering from Ebola fever, but the diagnosis was later ruled out as Togo, where he had returned from 10 days ago, was not an Ebola-infected country.

The patient had not traveled anywhere near the Ebola epidemic areas. The patient was admitted in District Headquarters Hospital (DHQ), Chiniot, for having a history of high grade fever, yellowish discolouration of eyes, vomiting, diarrhea for five days and loss of consciousness for one day.

When his condition did not improve, he was shifted to Faisalabad’s Allied Hospital where medics, after initial diagnostic tests, feared he might had contracted Ebola virus.

Adopting immediate precautionary measures and to track travel history and all potential contacts, a routine practice in epidemic investigation, the Punjab Health Department sent a field investigation team to the patient’s home town as well as Faisalabad where the patient was admitted for investigation and treatment.

National Institute of Health (NIH) scientists remained stand by and in continuous contact with provincial authorities throughout the episode on the directions of Minister for NHSR&C and Secretary NHSR&C.

WHO, that is working closely with the federal government to help strengthening epidemic preparedness – also sent a team providing technical assistance to the authorities in investigating and ruling out any suspicion of Ebola.

A five-member mission from Eastern Mediterranean Region (EMR) has also arrived in Pakistan to evaluate the country’s preparedness to handle the situation. The team will be visiting hospitals and airports to assess and then submit a report with recommendations.

According to reports, over 5,000 people were killed in latest outbreak of Ebola West Africa, especially in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea. Still, there is no effective treatment of Ebola and one can save himself from it by adopting precautionary measures.

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