Avian influenza – situation in Iraq - update 4
1 March 2006
A WHO collaborating laboratory in the United Kingdom has verified H5N1 avian influenza as the cause of death in a 39-year-old Iraqi man, previously announced by the Ministry of Health.
This brings the number of laboratory-confirmed cases in Iraq, listed in the WHO cumulative table, to 2. Both cases were fatal.
Virus has been isolated from the samples and genetic sequencing is presently under way.
The UK laboratory is also conducting tests on samples taken from additional cases under investigation from the northern province of Sulaimaniyah and the southern provinces of Basra and Missan.
Diagnostic testing was initially delayed by problems encountered in the shipment of samples from Iraq. Most of these problems have now been solved.
To date, poultry outbreaks of H5 avian influenza have been confirmed in Sulaimaniyah and Missan provinces. Both outbreaks are thought to have begun in mid-January.