Human H5N1 Cases Reported in Myanmar, Pakistan

The World Health Organization reported Friday that the Ministry of Health in Myanmar had confirmed the country's first case of human infection with the H5N1 avian influenza virus. The individual, a 7-year-old girl from Kyaing Tone Township, Shan State (East), has recovered. WHO also reported two deaths from the virus had been confirmed in Pakistan -- the first deaths in that country.

The Myanmar case was detected through routine surveillance after an H5N1 outbreak in poultry in the area in mid-November, WHO said, adding that the girl developed fever and headache on Nov. 21 and was hospitalized Nov. 27. "Samples taken from the case tested positive for H5N1 [virus] at the National Health Laboratory in Yangon, and the National Institute of Health in Thailand. The diagnosis was further confirmed at the WHO Collaborating Centre for Reference and Research on Influenza, National Institute of Infectious Diseases in Tokyo, Japan," according to the agency.

A team from the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries, and the WHO Country Office are investigating to confirm the source of her infection. Initial findings indicate a poultry die-off occurred near her home in the week before she fell ill. No other cases have been found.

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