Nassau County Resident With Travel History to Pakistan Tests Negative for Bird Flu

ALBANY, N.Y. (Dec. 16, 2007) – Today the New York State Health Department provided the following information concerning a 38-year-old male Nassau County resident who recently returned from Pakistan, where he was exposed to suspected avian influenza or H5N1, also known as bird flu. After consulting with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and taking appropriate measures, the state and Nassau County Health Departments determined that there was no risk to the public or to individuals that this person came into contact with.

Upon returning from Pakistan, the man landed at JFK International Airport on December 5. He visited his private physician the next day and was referred to a local hospital for observation. The hospital reported the patient to the Nassau County Health Department on December 7. While this individual showed no symptoms, as a precaution the Nassau County Health Department notified the State Health Department on December 7 and had patient specimens sent to the state Wadsworth Laboratories in Albany to test for H5N1. The results of the tests were negative. This negative test result was confirmed by the CDC, which had dispatched its plane to Albany on December 8 to collect the patient's specimens and conduct testing in parallel. Upon confirmation of the negative test results on December 9, the man's quarantine period ended.

As an additional precaution, the Nassau County Health Department arranged for this individual to be voluntarily quarantined in his home and monitored his condition via videophone. Post-exposure prophylaxis (Tamiflu) was prescribed. Because this individual's family was not exposed to avian influenza, they were not prescribed post- exposure prophylaxis. However, one family member who was symptomatic both before and after the man's return was also tested for H5N1 by the state laboratory and CDC and also found negative.

According to the CDC, no human infections with avian influenza H5N1 have been detected in the United States. The state Health Department thanks Nassau County Health Department officials for their teamwork during this process. Preparedness exercises in the past had helped train medical staff to respond to this type of incident. CDC is working with the World Health Organization (WHO) and other international partners closely to monitor the avian influenza situation in humans.