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Event title

Pakistan - Human - Dengue - Pakistan ( Karachi, Sindh) - 12-November-2021

Event category

Biological origin - Epidemic hazard

Severity

Unspecified

Event date (UTC)

2021-11-24 10:35:19

Last update (UTC)

2021-11-24 10:35:19

Latitude

30.148442

Longitude

69.470863

Area range

-

Address/Affected area(s)

-

Local media in Pakistan have been reporting during the past weeks about several hospital admissions in Karachi area due to a ‘mysterious viral fever’. Following these reports, the disease is causing symptoms and signs suggesting dengue fever (fever, haemorrhagic signs, thrombocytopenia) however lab results are negative for this virus. The media report that several health professionals working in Karachi have confirmed this information and are reporting that hospitals and blood banks across the city are facing shortage of units of platelets. The population has been advised to take additional precautionary measures to prevent vector-borne diseases. Some experts have suggested that the agent could be a different virus from the Arboviruses family, or a new dengue variant. An RFI has been sent to EpiCore members to collect more evidence about this event possibly referring to official reports, as similar cases have been described in the same area the past years by media. The EpiCore network has confirmed the event and provided relevant information extracted from media quoting the local authorities. The provincial health department of Sindh has announced that there is no mysterious virus spreading in Karachi and is requesting media to refrain from publishing wrong information. The authorities have informed though a statement to the public that clinical presentation and signs of the cases (high fever, headache, myalgia, arthralgia, retro-orbital pain, and low platelets counts) are in favour of dengue fever and that the fact that some lab tests for dengue were negative is not unexpected as the diagnostic procedures used are not 100 per cent sensitive and false negative can occur. The authorities have informed that there is no reason of concern in terms of a new virus spreading in the city however it must be considered that there has been an important surge in terms of dengue cases in the province documented by public and private hospitals. The peak has been presumably reached during October 2021, with more than 2,000 confirmed cases reported (1,200 in Karachi) and 6 deaths (5 in Karachi). So far, during November 2021 a total of 915 cases has been documented (627 in Karachi): the authorities consider the current situation under control however the public is required to further implement generic precautionary measures to control mosquitoes breeding. The RFI has been supported with details provided by the local health authorities and reported by local media suggesting that there is no new haemorrhagic virus circulating in the area and that the hospital admissions described reported were presumably caused by dengue. Media sources quoting local authorities: https://tribune.com.pk/story/2330113/health-dg-denies-reports-of-new-virus (Nov 19, 2021; local) Additional media sources: https://tribune.com.pk/story/2329627/mystery-virus-takes-karachi-by-storm (Nov 16, 2021; local) https://www.telegraph.co.uk/global-health/science-and-disease/doctors-pakistan-baffled-mystery-dengue-like-virus/ (Nov 16, 2021; international)

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