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Cablegate: Avian Influenza Cases in Jiangsu - Latest Update

VZCZCXRO6420
RR RUEHCN RUEHGH
DE RUEHBJ #7567 3540832
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 200832Z DEC 07
FM AMEMBASSY BEIJING
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4130
INFO RUEHCN/AMCONSUL CHENGDU 8884
RUEHGZ/AMCONSUL GUANGZHOU 3727
RUEHHK/AMCONSUL HONG KONG 9906
RUEHGH/AMCONSUL SHANGHAI 8764
RUEHSH/AMCONSUL SHENYANG 8536
RUEHBK/AMEMBASSY BANGKOK 5744
RUEHRC/DEPT OF AGRICULTURE WASHDC
RHMFIUU/DEPT OF HOMELAND SECURITY WASHINGTON DC
RUEAUSA/DEPT OF HHS WASHINGTON DC
RUEHC/DEPT OF INTERIOR WASHDC 0706
RUEHPH/CDC ATLANTA GA

UNCLAS BEIJING 007567

SIPDIS

BANGKOK FOR REO, CDC, AND USAID
HHS FOR OGHA - STEIGER, HICKEY
DINT FOR USGS RKENNY
CDC ATLANTA FOR CCID AND COGH

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: TBIO KFLU EAGR CASC CH
SUBJECT: Avian Influenza Cases in Jiangsu - Latest Update

Ref: A) Beijing 07401, B) Guangzhou 1279

1. (SBU) Summary: Following the death of a twenty-four year old male
from Avian Influenza (AI) in Jiangsu Province on December 2, the
young man's 52 year old father developed symptoms and was confirmed
positive for Influenza A H5N1 virus on December 6. The father had
extensive close contact with his son while he was ill in the
hospital, and all available evidence suggests that he was infected
by his son. The 52-year-old man has reportedly since recovered, and
none of the other people under medical observation have developed
symptoms. Health Minister Chen Zhu reportedly supervised the
treatment of the father personally. U.S. CDC Health experts based
in Beijing believe that the second case of infection was likely a
case of limited human-to-human transmission, but there is still no
evidence that the virus can be efficiently transmitted from one
human to another. End Summary.

Background
---------

2. (SBU) As reported in Ref A, on November 24, 2007 a 24-year-old
male resident of Nanjing developed fever, chills and other symptoms.
He was hospitalized on November 27 with pneumonia and was
reportedly interviewed by the local public health authorities for
the first time on that day. His conditioned worsened and he died on
December 2.

3. (SBU) Also on December 2, a clinical sample taken from the man a
few days earlier was confirmed positive for Influenza A H5N1. The
local, provincial and national health authorities instituted an
investigation and control measures were taken. Sixty-nine people
were identified as having had close contact with the man while he
was ill and were subsequently placed under strict medical
observation.

4. (SBU) On December 3, one of the people under medical observation
- the young man's 52-year-old father - developed fever and
respiratory symptoms and was placed in isolation in hospital. A
clinical specimen from the father was confirmed positive for
Influenza A H5N1 virus on December 6. During the December 2008
Strategic Economic Dialogue, Health Minister Chen Zhu told
Ambassador Randt that when he heard about the father's case he was
in Xi'an but he immediately traveled to Nanjing, Jiangsu to
personally supervise the father's care.

5. (SBU) The 52-year-old man has reportedly recovered. None of the
other people under medical observation have developed signs or
symptoms consistent with acute influenza infection and medical
observation of them has been discontinued. No other suspect cases
have been identified and the lead national level investigator has
returned to Beijing.

6. (SBU) Further laboratory analyses of the two viruses demonstrated
that the viruses are identical and are similar to Influenza A H5N1
viruses isolated in southern China in 2005 and 2006. The sequences
of the two viruses have been entered into the public database for
influenza sequences. In addition, the China National Virology
Institute has agreed to send the actual virus samples to the US CDC
influenza laboratory in its role as WHO Global Influenza Laboratory.


7. (SBU) As of now, no source of exposure has been identified for
the first case, the 24-year-old man. The Ministry of Agriculture
reportedly conducted a separate investigation but no bird die-off or
unusual numbers of ill poultry were identified.

8. (SBU) The second case, the 24-year-old man's father, had
extensive close contact with his son while he was ill in the
hospital. While it cannot be proved, all the available details
indicate that the infection passed from the son to the father.
According to U.S. Center for Disease Control experts based in
Beijing, this probable case of limited human-to-human transmission
does not constitute an emergency. They believe that there is, as
yet, no evidence that the virus can be efficiently transmitted from
one human to another, resulting in sustained transmission.

RANDT

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