Tests on Reunion 'bird flu' case are negative

27th October 2005, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Oct 27 (AFP) - Tests on samples taken from an ill man on the French island of Reunion have turned out negative for traces of bird flu, the French health ministry said in a statement Thursday.

PARIS, Oct 27 (AFP) - Tests on samples taken from an ill man on the French island of Reunion have turned out negative for traces of bird flu, the French health ministry said in a statement Thursday.

The 43-year-old Frenchman, being kept in quarantine in a hospital on the Indian Ocean island, "is not a carrier of the H5N1 virus, but rather a flu virus of another sort," the ministry said.

It added that it was awaiting the results of tests on two other patients on the island whose similar symptoms sparked fears Wednesday that they might have contracted bird flu.

The three individuals had all recently returned from a vacation in Thailand, where they had visited a zoo housing birds.

French Health Minister Xavier Bertrand had said that initial tests carried out on the three in Reunion Island had come out positive for bird flu, but cautioned that "nothing has been confirmed" pending the more thorough second round of tests in Paris.

Thai authorities earlier Thursday protested that it was "impossible" for the three to have been infected with the disease just from a zoo visit.

Thailand is one of several Asian countries which have recorded human deaths from bird flu. Nineteen Thais have been confirmed to be infected with the H5N1 virus, of which 13 have died.

The French health ministry said the results for the other two Reunion Island patients would be known Friday, adding that they were in a "satisfactory" condition and receiving anti-viral treatment at their homes with regular doctor's visits.

A French government official from a unit monitoring bird flu cases was to go to Reunion to examine the way authorities there were handling suspected cases.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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