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Suspected coronavirus cases at Karachi’s AKU not positive for virus

Inter-ministerial meeting held at federal to plan strategy

Reporting | - Posted: Jan 28, 2020 | Last Updated: 9 months ago
SAMAA |
Posted: Jan 28, 2020 | Last Updated: 9 months ago
Suspected coronavirus cases at Karachi’s AKU not positive for virus

Eight people admitted to Karachi’s Aga Khan University Hospital on Saturday suspected with the coronavirus infection have emerged clear, said the Sindh Health Department on Tuesday.

AKUH identified a cluster of suspected cases and contacted the health department. They were investigated by a team under the director-general for health, but didn’t meet the diagnostic criteria for the coronavirus.

All of them had flu-like symptoms and seven had travelled to China recently. One of the patients left against medical advice and four were discharged after treatment for the regular flu.

Two suspected cases were also rejected based on AKUH definitions and were discharged after being kept under observation and being given treatment, said the government.

The health department is coordinating with the AKU on sharing data and a surveillance mechanism has been established.

Communication was developed with the health authorities and other stakeholders and a health advisory on the n-coronavirus was distributed to all major healthcare facilities in the city.

The WHO case definition

The WHO has set surveillance criteria for human infection with the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV):

  1. Someone with severe acute respiratory infection (SARI) with a history of fever and cough requiring admission to hospital and any of the following:
  • A history of travel to or a person who lived in Wuhan, China in the 14 days before symptom onset
  • A healthcare worker who has been working in an environment where patients with severe acute respiratory infections are being cared for regardless of place of residence or history of travel
  • An unusual or unexpected clinical course, especially sudden deterioration despite appropriate treatment, regardless of place of residence or history of travel, even if another disease fully explains the clinical presentation

2.  A person with acute respiratory illness of any degree of severity who, within 14 days before onset of illness, had any of the following exposures:

  • Close physical contact with a confirmed case of coronavirus infection
  • A healthcare facility in a country where hospital-associated coronavirus infections have been reported
  • Was visiting or working in a live animal market in Wuhan, China
  • Had direct contact with animals in countries where the coronavirus is known to be circulating in animals or where human infections have occurred as a result of zoonotic transmission

The situation in Pakistan

Currently, we don’t have a laboratory to test for the new coronavirus. Cases are being ruled out at the National Institute of Health by testing for closely related viruses, according to Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health Dr Zafar Mirza.

An inter-ministerial meeting was held at the federal level on Monday to prepare a strategy. It included members of the Ministry of National Health Service, provincial health secretaries, the secretaries from the interior ministry and aviation, chairman NDMA, surgeon general of the army, directors-general of the ISI, PDMA, CAA, ASF and China Ministry of Foreign Affairs DG.

Its outcomes will be presented to the prime minister within this week.

The public has been advised to take preventive measures such as avoiding close contact with others especially those at high risk for severe infection, covering the mouth and nose with tissue when sneezing or coughing, washing hands with soap and water or disinfecting with an alcohol-based sanitiser regularly and wiping surfaces that are frequently touched or shared (doorknobs, remote controls) with a standard household disinfectant.

Those who are ill are advised to stay at home unless they develop fever or experience difficulty breathing.

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