Azerbaijan: Human H5 deaths confirmed after diagnostic capacity shortcomings:
This article was originally published in Clinica
The health ministry of Azerbaijan was forced to request significant laboratory support in investigating a cluster of 11 suspected avian flu cases, including at least three deaths, which have now been confirmed as due to the H5 virus subtype. The situation has highlighted wider shortcomings in the country's diagnostic services and supplies. "The response of the health ministry has been prompt and efficient, but hampered by the lack of some essential equipment and supplies, and an inadequate diagnostic capacity," said the WHO. H5 was confirmed using a portable PCR field laboratory provided by the US Naval Medical Research Unit 3 (NAMRU-3), based in Cairo, Egypt. "NAMRU-3 serves as a collaborating centre for emerging infections - test results are considered reliable," the WHO explained. However, samples are undergoing diagnostic verification and further analysis in the UK.