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Another Likely Bird Flu Case in Phitsanulok Thailand

Recombinomics Commentary
February 13, 2005

>> A patient suspected of having bird flu has been admitted to hospital in Thailand's central province of Phitsanulok. The six-year-old boy from Bangrakam district has had a record of close physical contact with chickens.

He is currently under constant medical supervision.

Government officials are worried about the bird flu outbreak in the province. Prompiram district has been worst hit, where the H5N1 virus was detected in eight different spots. <<

The admission of another highly suspect case in Phitsanulok is cause for concern.  Poultry outbreaks in the province have been reported continuously for the past several weeks and last week a patient (7M) with symptoms was admitted.  Although he reportedly tested negative for bird flu, he was influenza A positive, and had a fever and lung involvement shortly after touching a dead bird.

H5N1 avian influenza can change rapidly and testing procedures on humans is less than ideal.  Last season follow-up investigations identified 12 laboratory confirmed cases that were not in official reports.  Eight of these patients died, yielding a case fatality ratio virtually the same as official reports from last season in both Thailand and Vietnam.

There have not been follow-up reports on the earlier case and if this case also tests negative for H5N1, but positive for influenza A, the sensitivity of the test should be investigated.

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