First suspected Ebola patient dies in Pakistan

Updated: 2014-11-25 15:53


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ISLAMABAD - A patient suspected to be suffering from Ebola virus disease (EVD) died in the Pakistani industrial city of Faisalabad Tuesday morning, hospital sources and the media said.

Zulfiqar Ahmad, 40, a resident of Chiniot district in Punjab province, had returned to Pakistan from the sub-Saharan nation of Togo on Nov. 16.

If confirmed, this will be the first death in Pakistan of Ebola virus -- the deadly disease that has killed more than 5,000 people in West Africa, especially in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea.

Doctors said Zulfiqar was a chronic patient of various diseases and hospitalized for nearly three weeks in Togo before coming to Pakistan, doctors and his family members were quoted as saying.

Medical Superintendent Dr. Rashid Maqbool of Allied Hospital in Faisalabad told the media on Monday that the patient had serious liver issues and that blood was coming from his mouth, urine and bowel.

He was in a critical condition when brought to the hospital from a local hospital in his hometown. His blood and urine samples had also been sent to the country's main testing laboratory the National Institute of Health in Islamabad.

The doctors were awaiting for his test reports that will determine whether or not it was Ebola virus.

The patient was kept in an isolation ward and had been under treatment of special team to treat him, hospital sources said.

The suspected EVD-affected man died at a time when a World Health Organisation (WHO) mission arrived in Islamabad on Monday to review the government's arrangements to keep Ebola virus out of the country, WHO officials say.

Reports said the mission will visit Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi airports and other entry points to assess arrangements to deal with an affected person arriving in the country.

The WHO Country Head, Michel Torres, says the five-member team would also assess the patient and hospital safety and measures at airports and other entry points to stop the virus from entering the country.

Officials at the Ministry of National Health Services confirmed arrival of the WHO team and say the assessment would identify gaps in preparedness and the response plan made by health departments in case the virus entering Pakistan.