ISLAMABAD - A patient in district Chiniot of Punjab, suspected of contracting Ebola virus disease (EVD), was, in fact, at the last stage of hepatitis-C, coupled with dengue hemorrhagic fever, the National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination (NHSR&C) and World Health Organisation (WHO) confirmed on Tuesday. He passed away on Monday night.

The ministry and the WHO, in a joint press statement, said Ebola fever was ruled out on the verified absence of concurrent travel history. Togo is not an Ebola-infected country. The diseased did not travel anywhere near the epidemic areas. Further investigations concluded that the patient was at the terminal stage of hepatitis C, with an episode of the hemorrhagic dengue fever, confirmed by laboratory exams.

Zulfiqar Ahmad, 40, had been working in Togo (West Africa) for the last 3 years. He came to hometown, Chiniot, around 10 days back. At the time of admission to a hospital in Faisalabad, the patient had a history of high-grade fever and yellowish discoloration of eyes, vomiting and loose stools for the last five days and loss of consciousness for one day. The patient also had a history of vomiting blood 3 months back, for which he received treatment in Togo.

As an initial measure of precaution, the Health Department Punjab had sent one field investigation team to the patient’s hometown in Chiniot and another investigation team to Faisalabad where the patient was admitted for investigation and treatment, in order to know travel history and all potential contacts, a routine practice in epidemic investigation.

The Ministry of NHSR&C remained in contact with the Punjab Health Department and WHO and provided technical guidance to them. The National Institute of Health Scientists remained in contact with the provincial authorities throughout the episode on the directions of the minister for NHSR&C and secretary.

The WHO team provided technical support to the Punjab government to investigate the case and rule out any suspicion of Ebola. The WHO is working closely with the Pakistan government to help strengthen preparedness measures against Ebola and other infectious diseases.

More than 5,000 people have died in the outbreak of Ebola in West Africa, especially in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea that has scared the countries prompting stringent measures to control the disease.