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Five Confirmed Current H5N1 Patients in Pakistan

Recombinomics Commentary
December 14, 2007

The Health Ministry on Friday confirmed that five people had been affected by bird flu, but challenged the veracity of two reported deaths linked to the H5N1 infection.

Confirming the bird flu cases, federal health secretary Khushnood Lashri said the infected patients had been quarantined and precautionary steps were being taken in cooperation with the Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock to check further spread of the disease.

Three of the patients are in a hospital in Mansehra and the other two cases have been reported from Peshawar. One of the patients had been discharged from the hospital after recovery, health authorities said.

The last confirmed case had been reported on Dec 5 and there had been no fresh case, a senior health official said.

The above comments confirm that there is a major H5N1 problem in hospital in Pakistan, but the true number of patients remains confused.  Media reports describe four confirmed patients from culling activities in October, but the latest news out of Pakistan is focused on current cases.  These cases do not include the two recent deaths, although the report suggests that the dead patients are related to two other patients.

Media reports had indicated that one brother had been released and had flown back to the United States.  This patient may be the discharged patient.

The situation in Pakistan remains confused, but the acknowledgement of five confirmed current cases helps to explain the rationale behind the hospital alert.

More details on the confirmed cases and media reports of earlier confirmed cases and clusters would be useful.

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