Bird Flu :: WHO chief issues H5N1 bird flu warning amid new deaths

Margaret Chan, the new head of the World Health Organization (WHO), warned against relaxing the world’s defenses against a potential influenza pandemic, as two more human deaths from H5N1 avian flu were confirmed, one in Egypt and one in Indonesia.

More deaths occurred in 2006 than in previous years combined, Chan said in her address to WHO’s executive board, according to an Agence Presse-France (AFP) report. She added that the fatality rate for H5N1 avian influenza rose to 70% last year, 10 points higher than the average since the current series of outbreaks began in 2003.

“The message is straightforward: we must not let down our guard,” Chan said.

The WHO confirmed today that a 27-year-old Egyptian woman from Beni Sweif governorate, about 62 miles south of Cairo, fell ill Jan 9 and died in the hospital Jan 19. Initial reports suggest there were sick and dead poultry in her home before she got sick. Egypt’s health ministry first announced that she had tested positive for H5N1 on Jan 18. Egypt has now had 19 human cases with 11 deaths.

Marking Indonesia’s sixth H5N1 case this year, the WHO confirmed today that a 26-year-old woman from West Java province experienced avian flu symptoms on Jan 11 and died in the hospital 8 days later. (Some media reports listed her age as 19.) Investigators said the woman had been involved in slaughtering sick chickens before she became ill. Indonesia’s H5N1 case count has reached 80, including 62 deaths.

Seven patients who are suspected of having avian flu are being treated in an isolation room at Hasan Sadikin Hospital in Bandung, the Jakarta Post reported today.

A news published by Center for Infectious Disease Research & PolicyWHO chief issues H5N1 warning amid new deaths

Leave a Comment