A Mysterious Dengue-Like Fever is Spreading in Karachi

A ‘mysterious’ viral fever is rapidly spreading in Karachi that not only causes symptoms like dengue fever but also behaves like it as it decreases the white blood cells and platelets of the patients.

It even requires the same treatment protocols as dengue fever however, when patients are tested for dengue fever, their results come out to be negative, pathologists and hematologists in the provincial capital have claimed.

Speaking in this regard, the Head of Molecular Pathology Department at the Dow University of Health Sciences, Dr. Prof. Saeed Khan, said that the cases of the mysterious fever started appearing in the provincial capital couple of weeks ago.

He added that all the symptoms and behavior of this viral fever are similar to dengue fever but NS1 antigen tests, the diagnostic test performed to detect the presence of dengue virus, of the patients do not diagnose dengue fever somehow.

Dr. Saeed cautioned that this mysterious virus could belong to the family of ‘arboviruses,’ viruses that are transmitted by arthropod vectors such as mosquitoes, flies, biting midges, ticks, mites, fleas, bugs, and lice.

He advised citizens to take necessary precautionary measures against diseases like dengue fever and malaria because blood banks all over the city are already facing an acute shortage of mega units and random units of platelets.

A senior hemato-pathologist at a government-run health facility, Dr. Zeeshan Hussain, said that fortunately, all patients of this mysterious fever are responding to the conventional treatment of dengue fever.

Dr. Zeeshan added that while dengue fever has claimed a number of lives, none of the patients of this mysterious fever have died.

Hematologist and physician, Dr. Saqib Ansari, said that this isn’t the first time that the phenomenon in which people develop symptoms like dengue fever but test negative for dengue virus has been witnessed in Karachi.

A similar phenomenon was witnessed back in 2008 due to false-negative results produced by NS1 antigen tests, recalled Dr. Saqib, adding that more research is required in this phenomenon because the possibility of false-negative results this time around cannot be ruled out.