ISLAMABAD - Pakistan has been declared Ebola-free after the tests of a suspected Ebola patient in Karachi confirmed negative by a laboratory in Atlanta.  

The Ministry of National Health Services Regulation and Coordination and World Health Organisation (WHO) have communicated by a joint statement that the Reference Laboratory for Ebola in CDC Atlanta Collaborating Centre has confirmed that the test result of the suspected Ebola case, which had been admitted in JPMC, Karachi is negative.

Therefore, it is now established that there is no epidemiological link with Ebola for that suspected case any longer and that all Ebola prevention measures have to be suspended. Consequently, Pakistan is currently Ebola-free, meaning that there is neither case nor suspected case of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) anywhere on the national territory, the statement said. A patient was quarantined at the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC), Karachi, on suspicions of contracting Ebola virus as he had travelled from Liberia, an Ebola-affected country.  As facilities relevant to ascertain Ebola virus were not available in Pakistan, the blood samples were sent abroad.  

The NHSRC and WHO reiterated the diligence of the airport authorities for having carried out the Ebola epidemic preparedness procedures efficiently and promptly in the identification and handling if that first suspected EVD case in Pakistan. They also commended the Jinnah Hospital in Karachi for having meticulously applied the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) in safely managing the case all along. Ebola preparedness requires consistency and strict application of all safety protocols and SOPs for any suspected case until transmission and epidemiological risk is completely eliminated scientifically through the negativity of a viral test.

The NHSRC and WHO continue to enhance the capacity of federal and provincial health, airport and civil authorities, in line with the recommendations of the Ebola Mission conducted by WHO epidemic control experts   whose technical report has been presented and submitted to the NHSRC three weeks ago.