- GENEVA (Reuters) -- A 2-year-old girl in Djibouti, the first confirmed
human case of bird flu in East Africa, is in stable condition while three
siblings undergo tests for possible infection, the World Health Organisation
(WHO) said on Friday.
- Djibouti Health Minister Abdallah Abdillahi
Miguil said on Thursday in remarks broadcast on state television the girl
had tested positive for the H5N1 virus.
- The WHO, a United Nations agency, has
accepted as valid the results from the girl's sample tested by a U.S. laboratory
based in Egypt, according to WHO spokeswoman Maria Cheng.
- "Three of her siblings are undergoing
investigation for possible infection. Their samples have been sent to the
same laboratory," Cheng told Reuters in Geneva.
- The family lives in a poor, rural area
of the tiny country near the border with Somalia and kept chickens, she
added. The minister said the virus had been detected in three birds.
- The WHO had sent supplies of the anti-viral
Tamiflu, by Swiss drugmaker Roche <ROG.VX>, as well as personal protective
equipment to try to prevent the spread of the deadly virus, Cheng said.
- "We will send a support team if
and when requested by the health ministry," she added.
- The girl's symptoms began on April 23
and tests were conducted by the U.S. Naval Medical Research Unit 3 (NAMRU-3)
in Cairo on May 10, Cheng said.
- The girl remains under medical care in
stable condition, Cheng said, adding: "She still has persistent symptoms,
presumably fever and respiratory problems."
- The WHO's office in Djibouti was helping
authorities to tighten disease surveillance in the region, where outbreaks
of dengue fever can complicate diagnosis, according to Cheng.
- The WHO has confirmed 13 cases of bird
flu in Egypt, including five fatalities, where outbreaks began in March.
- In all, the WHO says there have been
208 cases in 10 countries, including Djibouti, since late 2003, and 115
- Experts fear that bird flu could mutate
into a form that passes easily among humans, potentially triggering a pandemic
in which millions could die.
- Patricia A. Doyle DVM, PhD
- Bus Admin, Tropical Agricultural Economics
- Univ of West Indies
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- Zhan le Devlesa tai sastimasa
- Go with God and in Good Health