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More H5N1 Spread in Nigeria

Recombinomics Commentary

February 8, 2006

The outbreak of poultry disease reported in Kaduna and Kano states has spread to the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and Keffi in Nasarawa state where poultry farmers have complained of losing thousands of their birds.

The above comments indicate that H5N1 in Nigeria has already spread significantly into three regions.  Earlier media reports describe sick or dying birds in Ungowan Doka, Maduna, Kawa, and Kano in addition to the Jaji outbreak described in the OIE report.

The Jaji outbreak began on January 10, so significant spread in the area has been possible in the past month.  However, the similarity between the sequences of the Nigerian isolates and those in Siberia and Mongolia indicate that the H5N1 has migrated into the area and H5N1 is likely spread across Africa along the migratory flight path.

Thus, the location of H5N1 is somewhat established, but the countries along the flight path in Africa and the Middle East have failed to report the outbreaks.

Sequences are being generated for the Nigerian isolates and data should be released later this week.  However, sequences along the migratory path would help determine how quickly the H5N1 is evolving and trace the paths back to Europe and the Middle East as the birds begin migrating back to the north in the upcoming months.


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