Belgium bird flu scare a false alarm

16th January 2006, Comments 0 comments

16 January 2006, BRUSSELS — Blood tests have shown no sign of bird flu in a Russian patient hospitalised in Belgium last week after returning from Turkey.

16 January 2006

BRUSSELS — Blood tests have shown no sign of bird flu in a Russian patient hospitalised in Belgium last week after returning from Turkey.

"We are sure — two tests prove it — that it is not H5 flu, so it is not an avian flu," Belgian Health Minister Rudy Demotte said.

The patient, a Russian TV freelance journalist, checked into a Brussels hospital at about 10pm on Friday with flu-like symptoms, a day after returning from Van province, where the H5N1 strain has been found.

There have been 19 confirmed human cases of lethal bird flu in Turkey, including three children who died.

The Russian journalist had been working on a bird flu documentary in Van in eastern Turkey, where the three children died.

"Bird flu is excluded," Belgian government official Piet Vanthemsche told Bloomberg, adding that there will be no further bird flu tests.

The chief of The Scientific Institute of Public Health Rene Snacken said further: "False negatives have been excluded because we tested with two different methods'.

The top scientist on the Belgian government's influenza task force, Marc Van Ranst, had earlier said the Russian represented the first suspected case of human bird flu in Belgium.

There are global concerns that the H5N1 bird flu virus could mutate into a form that can be passed from human to human.

[Copyright Expatica News 2006]

Subject: Belgian news

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