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Watchful Waiting Continues for Fever Patients in West Bengal

Recombinomics Commentary 01:41
January 24, 2008

According to latest reports several thousand people have been running fever in Birbhum district where the disease started from. While Health Minister Dr Suryakanta Mishra said the virus was under control his officers could not explain how so many people fell ill simultaneously from a single district. One officer however informed many of those suffering from fever handled their backyard poultry before the outbreak was officially reported. "It is however impossible to conduct checks on all of them.

The above comments on the more than 2000 fever cases in Birbhum are cause for concern.  Media reports indicate poultry began dying in mid-December and villagers were eating the dead birds for several weeks before H5N1 was acknowledged. 

However, much information on these patients is lacking.  Media reports indicate that most patients were not admitted.  Two children have been described, and it remains unclear if they were tested or treated.  There has not been any mention of collection of throat swabs or treatment with Tamiflu. This watchful waiting approach remains a cause for concern,

More information on the heath of these patients and details on testing would be useful. 

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