Throat infection suspected in bird flu scare
9 March 2006, BRUSSELS — The Belgian businessman admitted to the Saint Peter Hospital in Brussels probably has a throat infection and not bird flu as initially feared.
9 March 2006
BRUSSELS — The Belgian businessman admitted to the Saint Peter Hospital in Brussels probably has a throat infection and not bird flu as initially feared.
The government's bird flu commissionership said on Thursday the 32-year-old man — who has been in quarantine since Wednesday — does not have bird flu.
The man was admitted to hospital on 6 March with bird flu symptoms after returning from China, where he had visited a region in which human bird flu victims had been reported.
He had reported to a hospital in the Brussels suburb of Ixelles (Elsene) on Wednesday and because he showed symptoms of bird flu, the man was transferred to the Saint-Pierre (Sint-Pieters) Hospital, which is equipped to handle the virus.
The man felt unwell, had muscle pain, coughed and had a fever of more than 39 degrees Celsius. But an important symptom of bird flu was missing: he was not short of breath.
Bird flu preventative procedures were imposed nevertheless. Tests were conducted and the man was given an anti-viral treatment.
The man had passed through a region in China last week where the deadly H5N1 strain of the bird flu virus has been confirmed. This strain has already killed 69 people in Asia.
He departed from Beijing on Saturday and returned to Zaventem Airport in Brussels on Sunday. The man started feeling sick on Monday and admitted himself to hospital on Wednesday.
However, initial blood tests on Wednesday night indicated he was not infected with the bird flu virus. Further tests will be carried out on Thursday to diagnose what the man is suffering from. It is suspected he has throat infection.
Had the man been confirmed to be infected with the bird flu virus, he would have been the first European human infection.
No case has been reported in the EU of a human becoming infected with the bird flu virus from infected birds. However, the virus has been found in several EU countries, such as France and Germany.
The Belgian bird flu scare is a reminder of a case in which a Russian freelance journalist reported feeling sick two months ago after returning from making a documentary in a region of Turkey where the bird flu virus was confirmed.
After two days in quarantine, however, it was confirmed that the man was not infected with the bird flu virus. He had instead a normal case of seasonal human flu.
For more information, the inter-ministerial influenza commissionership is available by phone on 0800 99 777. There is also a website www.influenza.be.
[Copyright Expatica News 2006]
Subject: Belgian news