FAISALABAD: The cause of death of a 40-year-old man who died in a Faisalabad hospital with what doctors had feared were Ebola symptoms was in fact dengue and hepatitis C, a statement issued by the National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination (NHSRC) said.
Earlier, the World Health Organisation and the NHSRC had also issued a joint statement saying the victim was not suffering from Ebola, and that reports that he may have contracted the deadly Ebola virus during a trip to Africa were incorrect.
The deceased, who hailed from Chiniot, had recently returned from Togo in West Africa a week ago and was admitted to Faisalabad's Allied Hospital on Saturday with high fever and bleeding from his nose and mouth. The symptoms prompted suspicions that patient may have contracted the deadly Ebola virus.
In a joint statement today, the WHO and NHRSC clarified that Toga is not among Ebola affected countries. The statement also said that the man had died of dengue and had also been suffering from hepatitis C.
Speaking to Dawn, Dr Rashid Maqbool at the Allied Hospital had earlier said that the patient’s blood samples had been sent to the National Institute of Health (NIH) in Islamabad for tests.
Meanwhile, taking notice of the reports, the Punjab health department had shifted the patient to the isolation ward at the Allied Hospital where he died.
The death toll in the worst Ebola epidemic on record has risen to 5,459 out of 15,351 cases identified in eight countries by the end of Nov 18, the World Health Organisation said last week.
The vast majority of those cases are in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.
It can take as long as three weeks before Ebola victims show symptoms, at which point the disease becomes contagious. Ebola, which can cause fever, vomiting and diarrhoea, spreads through contact with bodily fluids such as blood or saliva.
Dengue is a fastest-spreading tropical disease transmitted by the bite of female mosquitoes and causes flu-like symptoms that subside in a few days in some sufferers. But the severe form of the disease requires hospitalisation for complications, including severe bleeding, that may be lethal.
Worldwide, 2 million cases of dengue are reported each year by 100 countries, mainly in Asia, Africa and Latin America, causing 5,000 to 6,000 deaths.
Hepatitis viruses produce inflammation in the liver, resulting in clinical illness characterised by fever, and often non-specific symptoms like pain in abdomen, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting and jaundice.
An estimated 180 million people worldwide are infected with hepatitis C, a chronic infection where the virus stays in the body for many years.
Patients with chronic hepatitis 'C' can develop many extra hepatic symptoms like rheumatoid arteritis, keratoconjunctivitis sicca, glomerulonephritis and lymphoma which are probably due to altered immune response.
Correction: An earlier reference to Togo being an Ebola-affected country was erroneously reported. The error is regretted.