Emergencies preparedness, response

Avian influenza - situation in Nigeria

31 January 2007

The government of Nigeria has announced the death from suspected avian influenza infection in a 22-year-old female from Lagos. She died on 16 January 2007. The mother of the 22-year-old died on 4 January with similar symptoms.

Preliminary tests on the samples from the 22-year-old were positive for influenza A/H5. Samples have now been sent to a WHO Collaborating Centre for Reference and Research on Influenza for confirmation. Results are expected shortly. No samples were taken from the mother.

Contacts have been followed up and have shown no symptoms at twice the incubation period for avian influenza infection. Samples have been tested from these contacts as well as from three other suspected cases, including one fatal case and have all been negative in preliminary tests. These samples have also been sent to a WHO Collaborating Centre for Reference and Research on Influenza.

It is important to reiterate that properly cooked poultry meat is safe to consume when cooked at temperatures at or above 70°C in all parts, until none of the meat is red. There is no epidemiological evidence to indicate that people have been infected with H5N1 virus following consumption of properly cooked poultry or eggs. The greatest risk of exposure to the virus is through the slaughter and handling of live or already dead infected poultry. More detailed recommendations can be found here.

WHO is working with the government of Nigeria to monitor the situation.