Saturday, September 29, 2007

Unborn Babies Can Catch Bird Flu From Their Mothers

Disturbing news from a study published in The Lancet. Not only does H5N1 attack the lungs, brain and other key organs, it can also infect foetuses.

InsiderMedicine has some more on this, and provides 'important points to remember for medical staff who may find themselves dealing with bird flu patients :
• Influenza A H5N1 should be considered in patients who are febrile with an URTI and a know history of exposure to sick or dead poultry, wild birds, other ill people, travel to an endemic area, or in someone whose work entails handling samples.

• Isolating all hospitalized patients who are under evaluation for influenza A, following the same precautions as those used for severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS. This includes a room with negative air pressure, and contacts gowning, gloving and using eye shields.

• Viral replication is long, and has been noted to continue up to 15-17 days following onset of symptoms. The virus has been detected in respiratory secretions, saliva, blood and stools.

Researchers from Beijing University studied tissue from a man, a woman, and her fetus to determine how the virus affects different organs in the body. The two adults had died as a result of the bird flu virus.

The researchers were able to detect the H5N1 virus in the lungs, throat, lymph nodes, brain cells, and in the cells of the placenta. In the fetus, both viral genetic material and antigens were found in the lungs, and immune system and liver cells.

Go Here To Read The Full Insider Medicine Story

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