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Suspect H5N1 in Kuwait Hospital

Recombinomics Commentary
December 19, 2007

An Indian man and his son who is believed to be suffering bird flu have been quarantined in Kuwait, reports Al-Wasat daily. The disease was discovered by chance when the man was on his way to Hyderabad aboard an Indian flight No IC862. When an immigration officer asked the man about his son, the man reportedly told the officer that his son who was leaving on the same flight with him ‘may be’ suffering from bird flu. The Infectious Diseases Hospital, where the son was reportedly confined, refused to comment on the case or even admit the child was admitted at that place. Immigration officers at the airport referred both passengers for medical examination and a report showed the boy was indeed suffering from bird flu. The concerned authorities are collecting information about the family and the school where the boy was studying as a precautionary measure to ensure the safety of others.

The above comments describe the hospitalization of a suspect bird flu patient in Kuwait.  As noted, information on contacts, including schoolmates, is being collected, suggesting the case is more than a symptomatic traveler reported by an overly concerned third party.

H5N1 in Kuwait would not be a surprise.  Earlier this year, Kuwait culled over one million birds, and the H5N1 was said to be related to the Uva Lake strain.  Linkage of H5N1 to outbreaks in Pakistan or Saudi Arabia would not be a surprise.  Pakistan is reporting laboratory confirmed cases in poultry, wild birds, and patients.

More information on the father and son, including recent travel history and contacts, would be useful.

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