Boy's death in Azerbaijan not from bird flu

BAKU, January 29 (RIA Novosti) - A boy who died Sunday morning of what was initially suspected as the H1N5 strain of bird flu succumbed instead to bilateral pneumonia, Azerbaijan's health officials said Monday.

Azhdar Askerov, 14, was hospitalized in the capital, Baku, Wednesday with a pulmonary infection thought to be bird flu. Last year, three of his relatives died of the disease.

The Health Ministry official said Azerbaijani experts detected no bird flu virus in Askerov's blood, which has now been sent to the World Health Organization's laboratory in London for further tests. The results are expected later this week, Azerbaijan's APA news agency said.

Viktor Gasimov, head of the epidemiological department in the ministry, told APA that the H5N1 virus could not have survived in the boy's home village of Dayikend, in the Salyansky Region, where it broke out last spring, killing five people.

"The virus can only survive for 40 days," he said. "It cannot withstand the heat, and could not have lived through the summer." (


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