Sunday, January 29, 2006

Another suspected case in Iraq

A week ago (here and here) we reported on the death of a 14 year old girl with symptoms and signs reminiscent of bird flu. She lived near the Turkish border and birds in her household had died shortly before. But tests by local doctors said she didn't have bird flu. WHO compliantly rolled over and accepted the suggestion she died of heart disease. Allegedly samples were sent to a reference laboratory for confirmation of the "negative" tests done locally, but so far I haven't seen any reports of the results.

Well if she died of heart disease, whatever caused it must be catching, because her 50 year old uncle has now died of a severe respiratory disease that again sounds a lot like bird flu, too.
Although tests made in Iraq on samples from the girl, who died on Jan. 17 near Sulaimaniyah, not far from the country's border with Turkey, were negative, both had suffered breathing difficulties, WHO spokeswoman Maria Cheng told Reuters.

"Given that both these people had severe respiratory problems and that it is near the border with Turkey, we need to check," she told Reuters.
Yeah, I'd say so. What about the dead birds?
So far there have been no confirmed cases amongst poultry in Iraq. However, some birds died recently in the area from which the girl and her uncle came, but it was not yet known whether the deaths were due to bird flu, Cheng said.

"Birds often die of many things," she said.

"It would not be surprising if it had spread from Turkey, but at the same time, we have no evidence yet that it has," Cheng added.
What do you want? The birds to rise from the dead and whack you over the head with a two-by-four?

So far we have heard nothing about this from the US occupation authorities. I guess news of human bird flu in the midst of 160,000 US troops might have a wee tendency to step on the Bush Administration's "don't worry, be happy" Iraq message.

It is rumored the State of the Union Address next Tuesday night will feature the President's solution to the health care crisis in the US.

How timely.