Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Bird flu tests ‘positive’ on four Bangladeshis in Kuwait

Preliminary tests for bird flu were positive on four Bangladeshi workers who had been culling infected chickens in Kuwait, a medical source said on Wednesday, but they have not been officially confirmed.

This would be the first cases of bird flu affecting humans in Arab nations of the Gulf.

“The first test on the four men was positive,” the source told AFP, requesting anonymity. “We have taken blood samples for a second test to reconfirm the initial results. We expect the outcome within hours.

“If the outcome is reconfirmed as positive, we will have to send blood samples to the World Health Organisation (WHO) laboratory in Cairo for a final confirmation,” the source said.

Health ministry spokesman Ahmad Al-Shatti told AFP an official statement would be made on Thursday, after tests results were reviewed, as to whether the four were indeed infected.

The ministry said specimens “have been sent to the World Health Organisation (WHO) reference laboratory in Egypt for confirmation.

“These measures are in line with recommendations by WHO for guidelines for the diagnosis and announcement of bird flu cases in humans,” he said.

The four workers were admitted to Kuwait’s infectious diseases hospital with flu-like symptoms on Tuesday. The men have been isolated in a special ward and were still at the hospital on Wednesday.

Since the outbreak of bird flu in Kuwait, 22 people have been admitted to hospital on suspicion of being infected, but later discharged after confirming they were healthy.

The Bangladeshis were part of official teams culling and burying hundreds of thousands of chickens in Wafra, south of Kuwait City on the Saudi border.

Bird flu story source: AFP

Posted by john T. on 04/04 at 10:41 AM
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