Mysterious virus with dengue-like symptoms creates panic in Karachi

Karachi, Pakistan's largest city, is reporting cases of mysterious fever with dengue-like symptoms but when tested for the vector-borne disease the report is coming negative

Nov 13, 2021
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Karachi, Pakistan's largest city, is reporting cases of mysterious fever with dengue-like symptoms but when tested for the vector-borne disease the report is coming negative. According to a report by The News International, cases of ‘mysterious viral fever’ are being reported in Karachi that behave exactly like dengue fever as it reduces platelets and white blood cells of the patients, but when tested for Dengue, the result comes out to be negative.

Physicians and pathologists from local hospitals have confirmed that a disease similar to Dengue fever is spreading in Karachi, requiring similar treatment, UNI news agency said. 

Prof Saeed Khan, head of molecular pathology at the Dow University of Health Sciences, said, “For a couple of weeks, we are seeing cases of viral fever, in which platelets and white blood cells are dropping while other clinical symptoms are also similar to the dengue fever. But when NS1 antigen of these patients is performed, their tests come out to be negative."

"It could be another virus from the family of ‘Arboviruses’, causing diseases like dengue fever. We have even performed a PCR test to see if it is a dengue virus but it is not the dengue virus. It is not Zika virus because the Zika virus behaves differently. There is a little chance of this virus being any unknown variant of the dengue virus," the expert added.

According to clinical experts, there is a severe shortage of mega units and platelets in Karachi hospitals and blood banks amid dengue and the mysterious virus. They advised people to take precautionary measures to prevent themselves from getting the diseases like dengue fever and malaria.

“Owing to this mysterious viral disease in addition to growing number of dengue fever cases, there is an extreme shortage of mega units of platelets as well as random units in the city. People are moving from pillar to post for mega units and random platelets units for their loved ones,” said Dr Muhammad Zohaib, molecular scientist associated with the Children’s Hospital in Gulshan-e-Iqbal.

Meanwhile, a senior hemato-pathologist, Dr Zeeshan Hussain, said the mysterious viral fever has not claimed any lives and the patients are being treated in the same way as any dengue patient.
(SAM)

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