Global Alert and Response (GAR)

Avian influenza – situation in Iraq - update 5

19 September 2006

The Ministry of Health in Iraq has retrospectively confirmed the country’s third case of human infection with the H5N1 avian influenza virus. The case, a 3-year-old boy, was hospitalized in Baghdad on 15 March 2006. His illness was mild and he fully recovered.

During its outbreak, which is now considered over, Iraq faced problems in the shipment of specimens for external verification of diagnostic tests. For the retrospectively confirmed case, initial test results were inconclusive, possibly as a result of sample deterioration during shipment. Repeated testing, using different methods, was needed for diagnostic confirmation.

The two cases previously confirmed in Iraq occurred in January 2006. Both cases were fatal.

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