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WHO Help with Philippine Investigation of Meningococcemia-like Cases

Recombinomics Commentary
January 13, 2005

>>Jean-Marc Olive, WHO's representative in the Philippines, said that the situation in the Baguio area needed to be better understood, and more extensive investigations would be needed to ascertain how serious a threat the disease was.
    "To help with these investigations, we will initially be providing the services of laboratory and epidemiology experts," Olive said.
    Philippine Department of Health earlier has opened a command post in Baguio with WHO's assistance to help with investigations and control.
    Besides the eight laboratory-confirmed cases, Philippine authorities have reported 25 suspected cases in Baguio since the beginning of 2004, a total of 19 have died. <<

The services of the lab experts should be most helpful.  The key question is the etiological agent of the meningococcus-like group, which has a case fatality rate of 68% and is easily transmissible from human to human.

The case fatality rate is almost exactly the same as bird flu, and the WHO lab has experience with H5N1 in Asia, especially in Thailand and Vietnam.

This added support should be able to pinpoint the agent and take appropriate action, which would be urgently required if it is H5N1 avian influenza that is neurotropic and easily passed from human to human.

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