- (Reuters) -- Tests in Iran on the bodies
of a brother and sister who died after falling ill with pneumonia-like
symptoms have revealed they had the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu, an
Iranian medical official says.
- The two - a 41-year-old man and 26-year-old
woman - were among five members of the same family who became sick after
returning from a trip to the town of Marivan, close to their home in the
northwestern city of Kermanshah.
- The three surviving relatives were still
in hospital and one of them remained dangerously ill, the official who
spoke on condition of anonymity said on Monday.
- It was not clear when the brother and
- Samples have been sent to international
laboratories for further tests, and if the initial results are confirmed,
these would be the first human bird flu deaths in Iran.
- Confirmation of H5N1 could deal a major
blow to Iran's poultry industry.
- The Union of of Chicken Meat Farmers
says the industry employs 600,000 people directly but as many as 3 million
people are dependent on it.
- Third person in coma
- A third family member, aged 30, had slipped
into a coma in hospital in Kermanshah, which is 100km from the Iraqi border
in the mountainous Kurdish territories of Iran.
- Iran first detected cases of bird flu
in February, when the virus was found in wild swans.
- All Iranian officials contacted said
they had been instructed not to speak to the media, adding that only the
health minister was authorised to comment.
- The H5N1 virus remains mainly a virus
of birds, but experts fear it could change into a form easily transmitted
from person to person and sweep the world, killing millions within weeks
- The virus has killed 123 people since
late 2003, most of them in Asia, according to the most recent figures from
the World Health Organisation.
- Iran's neighbours Turkey, Iraq and Azerbaijan
have all reported deaths from the virus in recent months.
- So far, most human cases can be traced
to direct or indirect contact with infected birds.
- Patricia A. Doyle DVM, PhD
- Bus Admin, Tropical Agricultural Economics
- Univ of West Indies
- Please visit my "Emerging Diseases"
message board at:
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- Zhan le Devlesa tai sastimasa
- Go with God and in Good Health