Suspected new variant of dengue under analysis in Karachi

Published November 19, 2021
This file photo shows a dengue mosquito. — Reuters/File
This file photo shows a dengue mosquito. — Reuters/File

KARACHI: The health department has recently sent a sample of a suspected new variant of dengue virus to the Aga Khan University Hospital (AKUH), sources told Dawn on Thursday.

The step, they said, was taken following a sharp increase in dengue cases in Karachi and reports that the disease was emerging with more severity this year.

According to the official data, the number of dengue cases reported within a fortnight in the city shot up to 582.

“The media reports about the emergence of a new virus circulating in Karachi are false. But, there is definitely a possibility of a new variant of dengue virus [which is responsible for the spike in the mosquito-borne viral disease this year],” said an official of the health department.

A sample of the suspected dengue variant had been sent to the AKUH, he added.

According to him, reports of a new dengue virus are largely based on the statements of some doctors who believe that false negative results [of a particular dengue virus detection test] indicate presence of a new virus, which has clinical features similar to that of dengue virus.

“These are all speculations. Often, the dengue virus antigen detection test (NS1) comes out false negative. This happens because the particular test has sensitivity below 100. In such cases, the concerned staff should carry out more tests to confirm the presence of dengue.”

Meanwhile, the Director General Health Services has also released a rebuttal to the media reports about emergence of a ‘mysterious virus’ in Karachi and stated that no such virus was circulating in any part of Sindh.

“These mysterious cases are being reported with the same complaints, that is, high grade fever, headache, myalgia, arthralgia, retro-orbital pain with low platelets count. The cases, highly suspected of dengue, are negative on diagnostic procedure NS-1 antigen because the diagnostic procedure is not 100 per cent sensitive.”

The top official, however, admitted an increase in dengue cases. “A surge in confirmed dengue cases is being reported from different public hospitals as well as private ones in Karachi.”

Published in Dawn, November 19th, 2021

Opinion

Editorial

Bulldozed bill
22 May, 2024

Bulldozed bill

WHY is the Punjab government so keen on imposing dangerous legislation that would be unacceptable to any...
Out of the abyss
22 May, 2024

Out of the abyss

ENFORCED disappearances remain a persistent blight on fundamental human rights in the country. Recent exchanges...
Holding Israel accountable
22 May, 2024

Holding Israel accountable

ALTHOUGH the International Criminal Court’s prosecutor wants arrest warrants to be issued for Israel’s prime...
Iranian tragedy
Updated 21 May, 2024

Iranian tragedy

Due to Iran’s regional and geopolitical influence, the world will be watching the power transition carefully.
Circular debt woes
21 May, 2024

Circular debt woes

THE alleged corruption and ineptitude of the country’s power bureaucracy is proving very costly. New official data...
Reproductive health
21 May, 2024

Reproductive health

IT is naïve to imagine that reproductive healthcare counts in Pakistan, where women from low-income groups and ...