Pakistan and Myanmar reported their first human cases of H5N1 bird flu as the virus continues to flare in Asia, including recent deaths in Indonesia and China.
Six people were infected with the virus in northern Pakistan last month and at least one has died, the government said on Saturday. World Health Organisation country representative Khalif Bile confirmed all of the cases were positive for the H5N1 strain of bird flu in preliminary tests at a government laboratory, but said a second round of analysis was being conducted to ensure the results.
If confirmed, they would be the first human cases detected in South Asia.
Two brothers died in the northwestern city of Peshawar, but specimens were only gathered from one of them, the Health Ministry said in a statement. Officials were trying to identify how the victims became infected and were monitoring people who had come into contact with the sick.
Myanmar experienced its first human case when a 7-year-old girl from the eastern Shan State became ill November 21 in an area where poultry outbreaks had earlier been reported, WHO said. She was hospitalized and has since recovered.
The UN health body hailed the secretive country for its transparency and swift action in alerting outside health officials about the case.
Indonesia, the nation hardest hit by the H5N1 virus, announced its 93rd death Friday. A 47-year-old man fell ill December 2 and was admitted to a Jakarta hospital with flu-like symptoms, said Health Ministry spokesman Joko Suyono said.