Thursday, December 08, 2005

New Human H5N1 Outbreak

The Chinese authorities confirmed that a 10-year-old girl had been infected by the bird flu. As Xinhua news agency reported, the authorities are puzzled over how the girl was infected, since no outbreaks of the virus have been detected in the Guangxi province, in southern China.

Experts of the Health Ministry have arrived in the area, in order to conclude how the virus was spread, and to coordinate efforts on controlling a possible pandemic. The girl presented high fever and pneumonia symptoms on November 23, and since then has been hospitalised under medical observation, together with any persons who came in contact with her. In the meantime, the sanitation authority in Vietnam, where H5N1 has cost the lives of 42 persons, has banned the sale of antiviral drug Tamiflu. The cause was the excessive use of the drug by citizens presenting symptoms of ordinary flu, as fact that will make the drug ineffective. The scientists stated that the excessive use of the drug can lead to the transformation of the virus into a new more resistible type. As the Health Ministry announced, it will only send necessary quantities to hospitals for the hospitalisation of patients infected by the bird flu.

The H5N1 flu has infected 134 persons in Asia, since the end of 2003, and has cost the lives of more than 70. Vietnam has recorded 93 human outbreaks, 42 of which fatal.


07 Dec 2005 07:33:00 By Dimitris Alexopoulos, Translated by Eirene Nisiriou