Published Date: 2003-03-15 23:50:00
Subject: PRO/AH/EDR> Avian influenza, human - Netherlands (04)
Archive Number: 20030315.0643
AVIAN INFLUENZA, HUMAN - NETHERLANDS (04)
A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases
Date: Sat, 15 Mar 2003
From: ProMED-mail <email@example.com>
Source: Press release, Dutch Ministry of Public Health, Welfare and
Sport(VWS), 15 Mar 2003 [translated from Dutch by Mod AS, edited]
Special measures against fowl-plague risk
Yesterday evening it became apparent that 19 people have caught eye
infections caused by the fowl-plague [highly pathogenic avian influenza,
HPAI] virus. Extraordinary preventive measures have been taken.
In 18 of the cases, the infection was recorded in persons who are engaged,
intensively and for lengthy periods, with the culling of poultry flocks
infected with HPAI. One family member of one of the said workers has
caught the same type of eye lesion, indicating that the virus can be passed
between humans. Human-to-human infection by the avian virus has not
previously been recorded. The eye lesions are harmless, with easy recovery.
These developments have led to additional special measures. Beginning
Saturday (today), the poultry-culling personnel are obliged to take an
anti-viral preparation meant to prevent infection. The preparation will
also be offered to people working or living on infected or suspected premises.
To further decrease the risk to public health, it has been decided that the
group of flu-vaccinated people will be enlarged. This means that all
residents and workers in plants situated within the protection-zone of 3 km
around the infected premises are advised to get vaccinations. All poultry
depopulation workers have already been vaccinated.
All new cases of eye lesions (conjuctivitis) in which a direct connection
with HPAI is demonstrated or suspected will be treated with the said
anti-viral preparation. The eye infection itself is not dangerous and will
disappear without medical treatment.
The described preventive measures will limit the spread of the HPAI virus
among humans. Human infection [with the HPAI virus] is indicated by the eye
lesion. If anyone undergoes simultaneous infection by the human and the
avian viruses, there is a very small chance that the viruses will mix,
producing a new virus variant that might be [even more] dangerous to public
health. Flu vaccination and anti-viral medications should prevent this.
[ProMED-mail is grateful to Edu Wijdeveld for bringing the information to
our attention. - Mod.AS]