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January 24, 2007

Nigeria: Two human H5N1 deaths?

Via ThisDay Online, a Nigerian news source: Bird flu death suspected in Lagos.

A mother and daughter, who recently died in mysterious circumstances in Lagos, have been suspected to have died of the deadly bird flu disease, thus, giving rise to speculations of a possible human-to-human infection of the disease in the country.

The two were said to have died within two weeks after they allegedly ate a chicken the mother bought for the family during the Christmas and New Year celebrations at a popular chicken market along Ikorodu Road, Lagos.

While the mother died on the January 4, the daughter also lost her life January 17.

According to information, after the daugher’s death, the father was said to have ordered an autopsy of the girl as well as his dead wife.

The result of the autopsy suspected bird flu disease as the cause of their deaths and it was after this that the father also disclosed that one of the chickens they had bought during the festive season had died mysteriously and they had to quickly slaughter the rest before they could face similar fate.

THISDAY gathered that the family has since been quarantined while further investigations are being carried out by officials of the World Health Organisation (WHO).

WHO spokesman, Mr. Austine Ogbide, in a telephone chat with THISDAY, confirmed that WHO is “aware of the case of a woman and her daughter who allegedly died after consuming a chicken”, but was quick to warn that the “cause of their deaths was yet to be determined”.

He also said the chicken is still being diagnosed and that it may not be proper to conclude that the mother and daughter were killed as a result of the chicken.

He added that WHO is still waiting for the outcome of the investigations after which it would make a definitive statement. UNICEF record shows that over 300 people world over have been reported to have contacted the disease, and out of the figure, about 68 people have been reported to have died.

If the ongoing investigation confirms that both mother and daughter died as a result of the disease, it would be the first case of human-to-human transmission of the virus in the country.

I have serious reservations about this story. We don't have reasons for the autopsy to indicate H5N1, and the last paragraph doesn't make any sense at all. Both mother and daughter are supposed to have eaten the chicken, so we have no evidence for H2H transmission.

Posted by dymaxion at January 24, 2007 09:19 PM

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