Outbreak: Suspected Congo virus carrier shifted to isolation ward

Blood samples confirm two patients died at Hayatabad Medical Complex due to virus

Umer Farooq June 23, 2015
Blood samples confirm two patients died at Hayatabad Medical Complex due to virus. PHOTO: STANFORD


Another Afghan national is suspected to be infected with the Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever, commonly known as Congo virus, and was shifted to an isolation ward at Hayatabad Medical Complex (HMC) on Tuesday. Haji Ahmad, a 13-year-old boy, hails from Bamyan province of Afghanistan.

The number of patients from Afghanistan arriving in the city for medical treatment has increased over the last two months. At least nine suspected virus-carriers have been brought to the provincial capital for treatment during last two months.


Earlier on Tuesday, blood samples of two Afghan nationals who died at the Hayatabad Medical Complex earlier this month confirmed the presence of Congo virus.

An HMC official told The Express Tribune the blood samples had been obtained by the hospital administration and sent to National Institute for Health (NIH) earlier. Muhammad Hashim, 33, and Khalid Khan, 30, were both confirmed as patients of Congo virus.

Read: In isolation: Suspected Congo virus carriers die at HMC

“The laboratory results confirmed both men were carrying the virus,” he said, requesting anonymity as he was not authorised to speak to the media.

“Hashim was admitted on June 9 and died on June 10,” the official said.

According to the official, 20-year-old Zahir, a resident of Jalalabad, also died at HMC on June 8. He was also suspected to be a carrier of the virus.

Of the nine Afghan nationals who had been admitted at the facility, some were discharged after their blood samples ruled out the possibility of the virus.

Abdul Subur, 40, a resident of Kabul, was shifted to the isolation ward as doctors suspected he was suffering from Congo fever. Qudratullah, a resident from Kabul, was also admitted to HMC on the same day and his blood samples were also obtained. However, he left the hospital before the test results arrived.

Better than cure

Relevant authorities claimed they were prepared to manage any situation. However, the number of patients arriving from Afghanistan who are suspected to be suffering from the virus created an alarming situation.

Read: WHO says South Korea's MERS outbreak large and complex

“We take all necessary steps,” said K-P Health Services Director General Parvez Kamal. “We have collected blood samples of patients, sent them to National Institute of Health and at the same time kept patients in isolation wards.”

According to Kamal, blood samples of a patient’s family members are also collected to check if they are also carrying the virus.

“No cases of Congo virus have been reported from residents of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa,” he said. “If such cases are reported, we will adopt necessary measures to prevent the virus from spreading.”

Published in The Express Tribune, June 24th, 2015.


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