WHO confirms Myanmar's first human avian flu case

Dec 14, 2007 (CIDRAP News) – The World Health Organization (WHO) today confirmed that a 7-year-old girl in Myanmar has recovered from H5N1 avian influenza, marking the country's first reported human case.

The girl is from Kyaing Tone Township in Shan state near the Chinese border, according to a statement from the WHO. Her illness was detected through routine surveillance following an H5N1 outbreak in poultry in the area in mid November, the statement said.

Specimens from the girl were sent to the National Health Laboratory in Yangon, Myanmar's capital, and the National Institute of Health in Thailand, where the samples tested positive, the WHO reported. The positive findings were also confirmed at the WHO collaborating center at the National Institute of Infectious Diseases in Tokyo, Japan.

She came down with a fever and headache on Nov 21, was hospitalized 6 days later, and has recovered, the report said.

Officials from Myanmar's health and livestock ministries, along with local WHO representatives, are investigating the girl's illness to determine the source. The WHO said poultry deaths were reported near the girl's home the week before she got sick.

So far, all of the girl's contacts are healthy, and continuing surveillance in the area has not flagged any more cases, the WHO reported.

Myanmar's first reported brush with the H5N1 avian flu virus came in March 2006 and since then has registered more than 100 poultry outbreaks, according to previous CIDRAP News reports. This spring there were several outbreaks on the outskirts of Yangon.

Elsewhere, the health ministry in Indonesia announced today that a 47-year-old man who was hospitalized with an H5N1 infection in Jakarta died yesterday, according to an Associated Press report. The WHO yesterday confirmed the man's illness as Indonesia's 115th avian flu case, but the agency has not yet added him to the currently listed 92 deaths in that country.

The WHO report said the source of the man's infection was under investigation. Previous news reports said the man kept ducks at his home and had recently traveled to Medan in Sumatra and Pandeglang in West Java.

See also:

Dec 14 WHO statement on Myanmar case

Dec 13 WHO statement on Indonesian case

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