A 21-year-old woman and a 31-year-old man, who developed symptoms on Feb. 2 and Feb 3, respectively, tested positive for H5N1 virus today, the ministry said, citing local health authorities.
“They are in critical condition and medical workers are carrying out emergency treatment,” the ministry said in a statement. “No epidemiological connections have been found between the two cases.”
An investigation did not find the two had contacts with fowls before they fell ill, it said.
People who had close contacts with the two patients have been put under medical observation, but none of them has been found ill so far.
H5N1 is prevalent in many bird populations, especially in southeast Asia. A strain of H5N1, HPAI A has killed tens of millions of birds and is known to affect animals of other species. Between 2003 and 2011, the WHO reported a total of 566 confirmed human cases of the diseases, resulting in 332 deaths.
Though as yet a highly contagious strain of H5N1, one that would facilitate human to human transmission, has not developed, research indicates that such a strain could be reached in only a few mutations.