Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Iraq: Girl Dies in the North, Tests for Bird Flu Underway

Last week (January 12th), it was reported that the Iraqi government had issued the highest Avian Influenza warning level on in northern Iraq where the Zaytun unit is deployed while Donga, published a photo which showed a Korean armored vehicle being sterilized against bird flu. Yesterday, after being ill for more than 2 weeks, a 14-year-old girl died in Raniya, a town located close to the Turkish and Iranian borders. According to a report filed by Reuters today:

Health officials in northern Iraq have sent samples to Jordan for testing for the bird flu virus H5N1 after a 14-year-old girl died in the city of Sulaimaniya, the regional health minister said on Wednesday. A central government health official in Baghdad confirmed a team was investigating.

Apparently, there seems to be no official WHO National Influenza Centers in Jordan specific to H5N1 testing or research, however according to the WHO Collaborating Centers Database, there are 3 WHO collaborating centers in Jordan which assist the WHO and countries in the Eastern Mediterranean Region for Diabetes Research, Education and Primary Health Care, Transfusion Medicine and Nursing Development.

Which center actually is qualified to carrying out tests on the samples sent from Iraq still remains to be seen, further more it is currently unknown as to whether it is a WHO center that is actually carrying out the tests or not. Personally, one would tend to fall under the impression that the testing is being done at a WHO recognized lab or center because as per WHO policy on Avian Influenza cases or deaths, they do not issue statements or update their global H5N1 spread grid unless tests have been confirmed by a WHO lab. Once more information is obtained on the lab or center where the Iraq samples are being tested, it will be blogged here, just like the information on the WHO Hong Kong lab which was supposedly carrying out tests to confirm the results of H5N1 samples from Indonesia. If there are any readers out there who are interested in sharing any more details that they may have on the above, please leave a comment below or send an email to avainfluhelp at
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