Emergencies preparedness, response

Avian influenza – situation in Turkey – update 7

30 January 2006

A WHO collaborating laboratory in the United Kingdom has now confirmed 12 of the 21 cases of H5N1 avian influenza previously announced by the Turkish Ministry of Health. All four fatalities are among the 12 confirmed cases.

Samples from the remaining 9 patients, confirmed as H5 positive in the Ankara laboratory, are undergoing further joint investigation by the Ankara and UK laboratories.

Testing for H5N1 infection is technically challenging, particularly under the conditions of an outbreak where large numbers of samples are submitted for testing and rapid results are needed to guide clinical decisions. Additional testing in a WHO collaborating laboratory may produce inconclusive or only weakly positive results. In such cases, clinical data about the patient are used to make a final assessment.