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Cablegate: Burma: First Human Ai Case Confirmed

VZCZCXRO3300
OO RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM RUEHNH
DE RUEHGO #1180 3510919
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 170919Z DEC 07
FM AMEMBASSY RANGOON
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 6935
INFO RUCNASE/ASEAN MEMBER COLLECTIVE
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 1634
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 0766
RUEHKA/AMEMBASSY DHAKA 4690
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI 4313
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 7857
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 5417
RUEHCN/AMCONSUL CHENGDU 1275
RUEHCHI/AMCONSUL CHIANG MAI 1277
RUEHCI/AMCONSUL KOLKATA 0144
RUEAUSA/DEPT OF HHS WASHDC
RUEHRC/DEPT OF AGRICULTURE WASHINGTON DC
RUEHPH/CDC ATLANTA GA
RUEHRC/USDA FAS WASHDC
RHHMUNA/CDR USPACOM HONOLULU HI
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC

UNCLAS RANGOON 001180

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP/MLS, G/AIAG;
PACOM FOR FPA;
USDA FOR FAS/PECAD, FAS/CNMP, FAS/AAD, APHIS;
BANGKOK FOR USAID:JMACARTHUR, APHIS:NCARDENAS, REO:JWALLER

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAGR EAID AMED PGOV PREL CASC TBIO KFLU BM
SUBJECT: BURMA: FIRST HUMAN AI CASE CONFIRMED

REF: A. RANGOON 1133

B. RANGOON 1151

1. (U) On December 14, the World Health Organization (WHO)
and Burmese Ministry of Health (MOH) confirmed Burma's first
case of human infection with the H5N1 avian influenza virus.
The case involved a seven-year-old girl infected with the
virus during a poultry outbreak in Kyaing Tone (Kangtung)
Township, Eastern Shan State in late November (reftels). The
patient first presented symptoms on November 21 and was
hospitalized on November 27. Her symptoms were mild and she
responded well to treatment. She was discharged on December
12, and has recovered fully. The MOH has not detected any
other cases of human avian influenza infection since the
outbreak.

2. (SBU) Samples taken from the patient first tested positive
for H5N1 using a Polymerase Chain Reaction test in a national
laboratory in Burma on November 26. However, based on the
patient's extremely mild symptoms and Burmese inexperience in
testing human samples, the WHO believed the initial test may
have resulted in a false positive. Additionally, the patient
had tested positive for malaria leading her clinical
physicians to believe that her symptoms may have resulted
from that disease rather than avian influenza. Consequently,
the WHO and GOB sent additional samples to accredited
laboratories in Bangkok and Tokyo for confirmation and
withheld an announcement pending the results. On December
13, a Thai national laboratory in Bangkok and a WHO
laboratory in Tokyo confirmed the initial H5N1 results, which
were then announced on December 14.

3. (SBU) A WHO official described the MOH investigation and
response as "swift, effective and very transparent."
According to the WHO, the MOH informed them of the case
immediately and allowed the WHO to work alongside MOH
officials throughout the process. WHO officials also
commended the GOB's proactive efforts to detect human cases
and pointed out that this case was first detected by a
door-to-door survey of the affected area, which the MOH began
after the initial outbreak.
VILLAROSA

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