A man in Karachi who tested positive for swine flu died on Sunday, marking the first reported case in the country this year.
Lab reports dated Jan 3 have revealed that the swine flu virus (H1N1) was present in the samples sent for investigation before his death. The patient, in his mid-30s, was undergoing treatment for a respiratory illness at a private hospital when he passed away.
“[The] hospital has reported one case to us,” said the media coordinator to the health minister, Meeran Yusuf, while talking to Samaa Digital. “We have reported it to the WHO. The hospital said that they will send us the complete investigative reports by tomorrow morning.”
She added that, “The WHO will treat it as a normal case”. She did not qualify “normal”.
The H1N1 Influenza A virus tested positive. The non-H1N1 Influenza A virus and Influenza B virus was not detected, the lab test said. The test is done on a nasal swab, which in such cases should be collected in the first four days of infection when viral shedding is higher.
The problem detecting these viruses is that they mutate quickly. “Potential mutations within the target regions of the Influenza genome covered by the test primers and/or probes may result in failure to detect the presence of the pathogen,” said the results.
“Negative results in the setting of a respiratory illness may be due to infection with pathogens not detected by this test or lower respiratory tract infection that is not detected by this/the nasopharyngeal swab specimen,” the results said.
Additional lab testing and clinical presentation should be taken into consideration for a final diagnosis. This test did not differentiate between the different H1N1 strains.
Doctors at the hospital have said there are two more suspected patients admitted.
This story has been updated at 19:15hrs to add quotes from the government.
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