Bangladesh reports its first human H5N1 case

May 22, 2008 (CIDRAP News) – Bangladesh has become the 15th country to have a human case of H5N1 avian influenza, this one in a 16-month-old boy who became ill in January but recovered, according to news services.

The boy's case was confirmed only yesterday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, according to an Agence France-Presse (AFP) report quoting Saluddin Khan, a government official. The child is from Dhaka, the capital, the story said.

Bangladesh, which had its first H5N1 poultry outbreaks in February 2007, weathered widespread outbreaks in poultry during the past winter. Fifty of the country's 64 districts were affected and 40% of its poultry farms were closed at the peak of the outbreaks, AFP reported. Bangladesh filed its latest report of poultry outbreaks with the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) in late April.

West Bengal province of India, which neighbors Bangladesh, has also battled numerous poultry outbreaks of H5N1 in recent months. India has not yet reported any human cases.

The AFP story said Bangladesh has set up isolation units at all public hospitals to prepare for possible H5N1 cases. "Right now everything is under control. We have trained doctors and readied hospitals to tackle any new detection," Mahmurdur Rahman, head of the country's Institute of Epidemiology and Disease Control and Research, told AFP.

In other developments, Indonesia's National Committee for Avian Influenza Control and Pandemic Influenza recently confirmed that a 15-year-old girl from South Jakarta who died May 12 had an H5N1 infection.

The girl was admitted to Gandaria Hospital on May 8 with a fever and cough, said a statement on the committee's Web site. She was referred to Persahabatan Hospital May 11. Including her case, Indonesia has had 134 H5N1 cases and 109 deaths.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has not yet included either of the new cases in its global H5N1 count, which stands at 382 cases with 241 deaths.

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