Suspected Ebola patient hospitalised in Karachi

KARACHI–A 45 year old man was shifted to Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC)’s isolation ward from Jinnah International Airport on Monday morning for being a suspected Ebola patient.

The man of Pakistani origin, doing business in Liberia, had arrived in the city with high fever and details he mentioned in his health card, a prerequisite along with embarkation card, led the authorities to refer him to JPMC.

Executive Director JPMC and senior doctor, Prof Tasneem Ahsan thoroughly examined the man, and found his body temperature almost normal, however, since it was recorded at 102 degree earlier, was preferred to be retained at the hospital’s isolation ward.

The man’s blood sample and relevant body fluids have been dispatched to National Institute of Health (NIH) in Islamabad, said JPMC sources.

It was, however, noticed that facilities relevant to ascertain Ebola virus were not available even at the NIH and therefore the samples would have to be sent to Cairo, the WHO headquarters for Eastern Mediterranean Region (EMRO).

The suspected patient originally hails from Mansehra, however, his family is currently based in Karachi’s Malir area.

He would likely be kept quarantined at JPMC’s isolation ward till his status is duly confirmed by the concerned authorities.

According to latest figures from the World Health Organisation, more than 16,000 people have been infected with Ebola and nearly 7,000 have died.

The new death toll, released on Friday last week by the UN agency, represents an increase of more than 1,000 deaths since a report from two days before. Most of the new deaths were recorded in Liberia, but the new toll likely includes deaths that have gone unreported over a significant period of time.

Pakistan government has introduced a number of measures to restrict suspected Ebola patients from entering the country. All flights coming from West Africa are being screened while a training programme had also been started with doctors, ward boys and nurses to deal with any case of Ebola virus.
A WHO team has also completed its work regarding Ebola assessment and preparedness in Pakistan.

The UN mission, according to statement, has provided technical support to assess and respond to the eventual venue of a patient coming from countries hit by the virus. It reviewed measures to be put in place in six areas of concern associated with Ebola preparedness, including entry at airports to track the passenger’s contact and travel history.

Infection control or the capacity to contain contagion and protect anyone from being contaminated by the virus was also part of the assessment.

The team also checked the laboratory to confirm facilities for Ebola diagnosis and follow-up of a patient, risk communication or capacity to dispel false beliefs and misconceptions with evidence-based and scientifically-grounded messaging, surveillance and contact tracking.

The mission visited Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi airports and the National Institute of Health and hospitals in three cities as well as some hospitals in Rawalpindi. It appreciated the commitment and steps taken by national and provincial authorities to protect the country from Ebola.

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