Iran - Two Dead, One
Critical From H5N1
Avian Influenza


(Reuters) -- Tests in Iran on the dead bodies of a 41-year-old man and his 26-year-old sister showed they had the lethal H5N1 strain of bird flu, an Iranian medical official who requested anonymity told Reuters on Monday (22 May 2006). Serum samples from the 2 victims in the northwestern Iranian city of Kermanshah would be sent abroad for further testing, the ISNA students news agency reported earlier. If confirmed in international laboratories, these would be the 1st human bird flu deaths in Iran.
The Islamic Republic 1st detected cases of bird flu inside the country in February 2006, when the virus was found in wild swans. ISNA quoted a doctor at Kermanshah's medical university as saying 4 patients had been tested, 2 of whom had died and one of whom was in critical condition.
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 or months. The virus has killed 123 people since late 2003, most of them in Asia, according to the most recent figures from the World Health Organization. Iraq and Egypt have also 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
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