• adult respiratory distress syndrome;
  • H5N1 avian influenza;
  • Reye’s syndrome

Abstract: Avian influenza virus was not known to cause systemic infection in humans before. We report a 3-year-old boy with good past health who developed pneumonia caused by H5N1 avian influenza A virus (A/Hong Kong/156/97). The virus was isolated from a tracheal aspirate. There were complications of Reye’s syndrome, adult respiratory distress syndrome, and multiple organ system failure. He had a history of receiving aspirin. His adult respiratory distress syndrome did not respond to endotracheal surfactant replacement therapy. He died 6 days after admission. Clinicians should be alert to the importance of a new human influenza strain.