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Cablegate: Infant Contracts Avian Influenza a (H9n2) Virus In

VZCZCXYZ0000
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHGZ #0737 3660817
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 310817Z DEC 08
FM AMCONSUL GUANGZHOU
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0085
INFO RUEHGZ/CHINA POSTS COLLECTIVE 0037
RUEHGZ/ASEAN REGIONAL FORUM COLLECTIVE
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC 0037
RUEKJCS/DIA WASHDC 0037
RUEAUSA/DEPT OF HHS WASHINGTON DC 0004
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC//USDP/ISA/AP// 0001
RHMFISS/CJCS WASHINGTON DC//J2/J3/J5//
RHHMUNA/CDR USPACOM HONOLULU HI//J00/J2/J3/J5// 0004
RHEFAFM/DIRNCMI FT DETRICK MD//MA-1A//

UNCLAS GUANGZHOU 000737

SIPDIS

STATE FOR ENVIRONMENT SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COLLECTIVE
STATE FOR EAP/CM, OES/IHA, MED, CA/OCS/ACS/EAP
STATE PASS TO USAID FOR ANE AND GH
DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE FOR OSD/ISA/AP
HHS PASS TO OGHA, NIH/FIC, CDC/COGH AND FLU DIV TMOUNTS AND NCOX
USDA PASS TO APHIS, FAS (OSTA AND OCRA), FSIS
BANGKOK FOR RMO, CDC, USAID
BEIJING FOR HHS HEALTH ATTACHE AND RMO

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: TBIO KFLU CASC SOCI PREL HK CH
SUBJECT: INFANT CONTRACTS AVIAN INFLUENZA A (H9N2) VIRUS IN
SHENZHEN, HOSPITALIZED IN HONG KONG

1. Summary: An eleven-week old girl who resides in Shenzhen has
reportedly contracted avian influenza A (H9N2) virus. She is being
treated in a Hong Kong hospital. Some medical experts have
expressed concern that avian influenza A (H9N2) virus - which has
only been documented in a low pathogenic form, compared to highly
pathogenic avian influenza A (H5N1) virus - might have mutated
because the girl did not initially exhibit a fever. Shenzhen
officials are investigating the source of the infection, but have
not yet released any findings. End summary.

2. According to media reports, an eleven-week old girl living in
Shenzhen, Guangdong Province, contracted avian influenza A (H9N2)
virus and is now being treated at Tuen Mun Hospital in Hong Kong.
The girl was born in Hong Kong, and her parents took her to Tuen Mun
Hospital on December 22 after she exhibited coughing and vomiting.
Because she had no fever, the hospital did not suspect AI after her
first admission. She was discharged the next day and returned with
her parents to Shenzhen. Her parents took her back to Tuen Mun
Hospital on December 29, after which blood tests determined she was
infected with avian influenza A (H9N2) virus. Avian influenza A
(H9N2) virus has only been documented in a low pathogenic form,
compared to highly pathogenic avian influenza A (H5N1) virus. Media
reports indicate she is in stable condition, but still has an
elevated white blood cell count, which doctors suspect may be due to
causes other than the avian influenza A (H9N2) virus infection.
They are testing her for leukemia.

3. Medical experts are reportedly concerned that the avian influenza
A (H9N2) virus may have mutated because the girl did not initially
develop a fever. Hong Kong and Guangdong health officials have been
in contact with each other to speed investigation of the infection
source.

4. Shenzhen officials have sent a team to investigate the
residential area in Shenzhen's Nansha District, where the patient
lives, and indicated they would release an update when more
information is available. They advised local residents to reduce
contact with live poultry. The patient's doctor in Hong Kong told
reporters that the family did not raise chickens and that other
members of the family have not displayed any symptoms of contracting
the virus.

5. This cable was coordinated with Embassy Beijing and Consulate
General Hong Kong.

GOLDBERG

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