Global Alert and Response (GAR)

Avian influenza A(H5N1) in humans in Thailand - update 6

23 January 2004

The Ministry of Public Health in Thailand has today informed WHO of two cases of H5N1 avian influenza in humans. Both cases, which are in children, are laboratory confirmed.

A WHO influenza reference centre in Thailand has been involved in the testing.

The first case is a 7-year-old boy from Suphanburi province who developed fever and cough on 3 January, and progressed to acute respiratory distress syndrome on 13 January. Test results received today have detected the H5N1 avian influenza virus strain in specimens taken from this patient.

The second case is a 6-year-old boy from Kanchanaburi province. He developed fever on 6 January, followed a week later by severe pneumonia with acute respiratory distress syndrome. Test results, made available to the Ministry of Public Health this morning, have detected the H5N1 avian influenza virus strain in specimens taken from this patient.

Both patients are alive.

WHO has also received official information that a 49-year-old man in Nakornsawan province, hospitalized with severe pneumonia, has been treated with antibiotics. His condition is now improving, suggesting that his illness has a bacterial, and not a viral cause.

WHO will be collaborating closely with health authorities in Thailand in responding to this situation.

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