[IWAR] HEALTH HK flu update

From: Michael Wilson (MWILSON/0005514706at_private)
Date: Tue Dec 09 1997 - 12:36:49 PST

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                        Mystery flu may be spreading in Hong Kong
          Copyright ) 1997 Nando.net
          Copyright ) 1997 The Associated Press
       HONG KONG (December 9, 1997 06:47 a.m. EST http://www.nando.net) -- Nine
       hospital staff members who had "substantive" contact with two patients
       infected by a rare virus have developed flu-like symptoms, Hong Kong
       health authorities said Tuesday.
       One of the infected patients, a 54-year-old man, died last week of
       complications arising from pneumonia. The other, a 13-year-old girl, was
       listed in critical and stable condition with the rare H5N1 influenza A
       virus, the Hospital Authority said.
       In May, a 3-year-old boy became the first casualty of the virus, which
       previously had been found only in birds and poultry, government health
       spokesman John Tam said. A 2-year-old boy also was hospitalized with the
       virus last month but recovered.
       The nine hospital staff members have been tested for H5N1 infection, and
       results are expected in a few days, said Raymond Lo, an authority
       Eight of the staff worked at the Prince of Wales Hospital, where the
       13-year-old victim is being treated. The ninth worked at Queen Elizabeth
       Hospital, where the 54-year-old man died.
       The Hong Kong government says there is so far no evidence of
       human-to-human transmission.
       About 4,500 chickens on three poultry farms died of the virus in April,
       the government said. But no direct connection has been established
       between the farm outbreak and the human cases, it said.
       April's farm outbreak was the first time the H5N1 virus had been
       discovered in poultry, Agriculture and Fisheries spokesman Peter Hung
       South China is the point of origin of many of the world's flus, and
       since the first case was diagnosed, the government has been working with
       local experts, the World Health Organization and experts from the
       Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States.
       Dr. Paul Saw, deputy director of the Department of Health, said the WHO
       had been asked to alert vaccine production centers worldwide to monitor
       developments with a view toward preparing the necessary vaccine.

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