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Post-Tsunami Flu Fatalities in Sri Lanka Raise Questions

Recombinomics Commentary

January 1, 2005

>>Already, there are fears of an outbreak of disease. On Thursday three people died of a strange flu that was resistant to any antibiotics and the rebels want to get rid of the bodies as quickly as possible<<

The recent fatal flu cases in Mullaittivu raise a number of questions concerning the earlier flu cases in the south in Matara, Padanangala and Embilipitiya.  Although the outbreak in the south was considered to be due to influenza B, many questions were left unanswered because laboratory results were not yet available.

Some of the questions left unanswered are the following:

One of the initial cases was diagnosed as influenza A. If this diagnosis was correct, what was the sub-type?

One of the initial cases had returned form overseas.  What was the country of origin?

Two of the initial three fatalities were brothers and the third was a relative.  Two of the children of one of the victims were undergoing treatment at the Matara Base Hospital.  What is the diagnosis and current status of the two children? 

Did any of the 100 chickens that were culled have symptoms of bird flu?

What were the symptoms and diagnosis for the fatal infections in 80 fowl in the Mahaweli Farm in Embilipitiya?

Have there been any new fatal influenza cases in the south since the tsunami?

Answers to these questions will help allay bird flu concerns about the association between the 9 flu fatalities in the south,  the 4 flu fatalities in the north, and the deaths or culling of poultry.

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