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H5N1 Clusters in Beijing and Hunan Raise Pandemic Concerns
Recombinomics Commentary 14:29
January 19, 2009

Ta Kung Pao, a Hong Kong newspaper backed by the mainland's communist authorities, reported that the girl's mother died recently of what doctors "highly suspected" was also bird flu. The paper did not give any other details, and Shanxi health officials refused to comment on the mother's death.

The above comments strongly suggest the 2F from Hunan was infected by her mother (see updated map).  Details on the case have been lacking, and transport to Shanxi by her grandparents would be consistent with the death of her mother.

Similarly, details on the health care worker linked to the Beijing case have been lacking.  One media report indicated the health care worker tested positive for H5N1, while most media reports simply said the nurse recovered.

Human to human H5N1 in China would not be a surprise.  Four cases have been confirmed and these cases were fatal or the patient is in critical condition.  The lack of reports on recovered cases suggests additional unconfirmed infections, which suggests a more efficient transmission to humans.

The lack of detail on these reported clusters, and the failure of WHO to comment or cite the health care worker in the situate update on the Beijing case and statement that contacts remain healthy  increases concerns.

More detail on these related cases, and release of sequence data would be useful.

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