2006-01-31-Girl And Uncle Dies Of Bird Flu In IraqUnderstanding Avian Influenza
2006-01-31-Girl And Uncle Dies Of Bird Flu In Iraq
Authorities have confirmed that a 15-year-old girl died of H5N1 bird flu virus strain infection on 17 January. A US naval medical research unit located in Cairo, Egypt confirmed the diagnosis.
The girl died of severe respiratory problems. Doctors say her symptoms were compatible with a diagnosis of H5N1 avian influenza (bird flu).
The girl was tended to by her uncle, 39, he became ill on 24 January and died on 27 January.
The patients lived in the town of Raniya near Sulaimaniyah in the northern part of the country, near the Turkish border.
Although there have been poultry deaths in the area, we will not know whether the birds died of avian influenza until lab tests results confirm this.
Authorities say the girl was in close contact with sick poultry. It is not yet known how her uncle got ill. In very extreme cases, when a human is looking after a sick relative and there is a lot of continuous physical contact, a human can infect another human with bird flu (very, very rare).
The Ministry of Health of Iraq have informed the World Health Organisation that a third human is suspected of having H5N1 infection. The patient is a woman, 54 - from the same area as the two other people who died. The woman was hospitalised on 18 January.
All samples are being tested in a specialised lab in the UK.