Global Alert and Response (GAR)

Avian influenza – situation in Lao People's Democratic Republic – update 2

16 March 2007

The Ministry of Health in Lao People's Democratic Republic has reported a second human case of infection with the H5N1 avian influenza virus. The case was fatal.

Initial testing was conducted by the National Centre for Laboratory and Epidemiology in Laos. In line with WHO policy, samples were sent to a WHO collaborating laboratory in Tokyo for diagnostic verification and further analysis. The collaborating centre has now confirmed H5N1 infection.

The 42-year-old female was from Saka village, Pong Hong district in Vientiane province. She developed fever 26 February and was hospitalized in Vientiane Provincial hospital on 28 February and then transferred to Sethathirat hospital on 1 March. She died on 4 March. Tests taken during an investigation to determine the source of exposure have found a duck positive for H5 in the woman's household. Close family and hospital contacts are being monitored and to date, none has shown signs of infection.

WHO continues to work closely with the Lao government to strengthen case reporting, improve diagnostic capacity and increase awareness of the disease in the community.

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