Monday, March 10, 2008

Rajshahi poultry farm owner, family safe from bird flu danger

The poultry farm owner and his wife and son, who were quarantined on suspicion of avian influenza infection, were released from Rajshahi Medical College Hospital (RMCH) yesterday after pathological tests in the capital produced negative results.

The tests of throat and nasal swabs of Ashraf Hossain, 42, and his wife and 14-year-old son were carried out at the virology departments of Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR) and the ICDDR,B.

"We recommended releasing the three after extensive tests. We first performed a rapid test for influenza at the virology department of IEDCR and the results were negative for all three," said Prof Mahmudur Rahman, director of IEDCR.

"Usually, we do not proceed for further tests after the rapid test. But since it was the first case in the country where the patient was from an infected farm, we gave it a top priority," he said.

The specimens were then sent to the virology department of ICDDR,B for real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test and the results were negative for H5 virus too.

Ashraf Hossain, a poultry farmer of Terokhadia Paschimpara in the city, had been taken to RMCH on March 5 and quarantined the next day on suspicion of being infected with the avian influenza H5N1 virus.

The surveillance physician of the RMCH influenza surveillance informed the IEDCR of the matter.

On February 20, some 100 chickens of his farm died and he buried those without taking any protective measures. Two days later, the district livestock department confirmed the presence of bird flu virus at the farm and culled 600 chickens.
Bird flu infection suspected

A poultry farmer was quarantined at Rajshahi Medical College Hospital as doctors suspect that he might be infected with bird flu virus.

Ashraf Hossain, 32, of Terokhadia Pashchimpara in Rajshahi was admitted to the hospital on Wednesday as he showed multiple symptoms of the disease. His blood sample was sent to Dhaka for test.

"If his case is confirmed, he will be the first person in the country to have been infected with bird flu", said Dr Abdul Alim, who is treating the patient.

Dr M Sajedul Islam, civil surgeon of Rajshahi, said, "It would take only seven days for him to be cured if it is established that he's caught the avian influenza virus", he said.

Nearly 500 bird-flu infected chickens were culled at Ashraf's farm on February 23.

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