Faisalabad: In a fast paced turn of events yesterday, 25th of November, a patient by the name of Zulfiqar Ahmed passed away at the Allied Hospital Faislabad with consultants suspecting Ebola virus as one of the causes of death. Before the blood culture reports were released however, officials issued a statement confirming that the patient had died of Dengue and Hepatitis C, ruling out Ebola entirely.
Zulfiqar Ahmed, a 40 year old resident of Chiniot was admitted to Faislabad’s Allied Hospital on the 22nd of November, severely ill after his condition did not improve at a local hospital
He had returned from a trip to Togo, Africa, roughly a week before his hospital admission. Symptoms included bleeding from the mouth and nose. According to WHO officials, Togo did not get affected by Ebola and no cases of the disease were reported from the region.
The panel of consultants at Allied Hospital confirmed provisional diagnosis of Viral Hemorrhagic Fever, and stated that the patient had passed away on the 25th of November due to multiple organ failure.
When enquired about definite diagnosis, autopsy reports and blood culture details, administration officials at the Allied Hospital stated that autopsy results were not available and the according to Allied hospital, patient’s blood samples had been sent to the National Institute of Health (NIH), Islamabad. Leading to contemplate that exact cause of death may not be available for at least ten days till NIH releases its reports.
The meanwhile, NHRSC and WHO issues a joint statement saying that the patient had passed away from Hepatitis C and Dengue.
Maryam Yunus, Communication Officer WHO, Islamabad said:
“I have issued the statement on behalf of WHO because it is our duty to inform and communicate. Other than that, the WHO has no information on the case; the Punjab Government is dealing with”.
However according to her they have yet to see the patient reports.
The Punjab Government has been managing the case and all information related to it. Ebola had initially been part of the differential diagnosis because of the patient’s history of travelling to Africa. It was ruled out later solely on the basis of the fact that Togo remains safe from Ebola Virus.
The Sindh Government has failed to eliminate Polio from the region miserably, with new cases being reported every other day. The death toll of those suffering in the drought-hit areas of Tharparkar continues to rise without government officials attempting to adopt the necessary measures. Pakistan, as a nation with a compromised, weak healthcare system cannot afford another epidemic that poses threat to the lives of countless people across the country.
It is time solid measure are put in place to counter any such threats.