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Suspect H5N1 Familial Cluster in Thailand

Recombinomics Commentary

October 18, 2005

Bang-orn Benpad was suffering from a high fever and bronchitis after cooking and eating a sick chicken and his lungs had deteriorated rapidly, said Dr Surapong Tanthanasrikul, a senior provincial health officer.

The 48-year-old man is now unconscious in a disinfected ward at Paholpolpayuhasena Hospital.

Health officials have quarantined Patipan Benpad, Bang-orn's seven-year-old son, who is also sick with high fever, and Dr Surapong said he would check whether the chicken Bang-orn ate was infected with H5N1.

On Saturday Phanom Thuan district was declared re-infected by the Department of Livestock Development (DLD) after a large number of chickens died mysteriously recently.

Last year, the same district was hit hard by H5N1, resulting in a massive cull of chickens. One boy was confirmed dead from bird flu.

The above two H5N1 bird flu suspected cases would be the first two reported in Thailand this year.  Initial tests on the father are negative, but Thailand has a history of reporting negative test results on highly suspect human cases.

Sequences of H5N1 in Thailand in 2005 are very similar to sequences from 2004, when Thailand reported cases.  Moreover, the Thai sequences are very closely related to sequences from Vietnam, where there were reported human cases in 2004 and 2005

More detail on the negative tests would be useful as would information on the dead birds in the area.

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