Wednesday October 04, 2023

Surgeon from Bahawalpur hospital dies of CCHF at AKUH

July 31, 2016

Karachi: A doctor from the Bahawal Victoria Hospital in Bahawalpur, Punjab died of Crimean–Congo haemorrhagic fever (CCHF) at the Aga Khan Hospital in Karachi on Saturday while another doctor from the same hospital is also being treated there, health officials told The News.

Dr Sagheer Ahmed, a general surgeon at the Bahawal Victoria Hospital had contracted the disease while treating a female patient. Two other doctors, Dr Owais and Dr Alam, who were treating her also fell ill.

The patient, a fourth-year medical student, died during treatment while the three doctors who supervised her treatment fell sick and were admitted to the AKUH on July 28.

Dr Zafar Mehdi, the focal person for Naegleria fowleri and other infectious diseases at the Sindh health department, said Dr Sagheer was diagnosed positive for CCHF and he had passed away on Saturday.

“Dr Sagheer and the two other doctors had operated on the patient around 10 days ago,” he added.

Dr Mehdi said the AKUH was waiting for Dr Owais’ laboratory reports to ascertain if he too was infected or not while the doctors at the hospital’s OPD were handling Dr Alam’s case.

AKUH officials said Dr Owais was in a serious condition and they were waiting for his reports.

However, they added that Dr Alam was not diagnosed positive for the disease and he had been discharged from the hospital.

The CCHF is a deadly disease caused by a virus that is carried by a tick or parasite that lives on cattle and other animals. Any contact of humans with the tick present on the skin of the livestock or animals results in an infection. The infected person can then infect other people.


A fourth patient?

There were reports of a fourth patient at the AKUH too, but neither the provincial health department officials, nor the AKUH officials confirmed it.

The health department officials said the fourth person could be either be suffering from the CCHF or Naegleriasis which was caused by the freshwater amoeba Naegleria fowleri.

The CCHF cases in Pakistan are commonly reported in Balochistan where livestock traders and their handlers often contract the disease from their animals but recently there have been several cases in Karachi. It is perhaps for the first time in recent years that a CCHF case from lower Punjab has been reported. The national health ministry has asked both the Punjab and Sindh health departments to stay vigilant as the disease was extremely dangerous and had a 90 to 95 mortality rate.