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Suspected H5N1 Children in Nigeria

Recombinomics Commentary

February 9, 2006

"We have received a complaint ... from a farmer that the doves, geese and chickens he is raising are dying rapidly and his two kids are sick. They are coughing blood," said Sa'idu Baba Chori, a Kaduna State agriculture official.

The above comments is the first suggesting human H5N1 infections in Nigeria.  The family is near the H5N1 confirmed outbreak in Kaduna, and the death of several species, including geese, is an indicator of H5N1.

In Turkey, one of the symptoms of H5N1 infections in the more severe cases was blood coming from the mouth.  The above comment does not give additional symptoms, but all of the above is consistent with H5N1 infection in humans.

If H5N1 positive, the result would provide the strongest evidence for the transmission of HA S227N polymorphism detected in Turkey to be traveling long distances by migratory birds.  The acquisition of S227N correlated with the reporting of the first case in Turkey and was associated with large clusters signaling more efficient transmission of H5N1 to humans.  The outbreak of 21 confirmed cases in Turkey along with clusters in northern and southern Iraq indicated S227N was being transported by wild birds.

If the cases in Nigeria also have S227N, the result would strongly suggest that S227N is being transmitted and transported by long range migratory birds.  The location in Nigeria is near the intersection of East Atlantic Flyway, the Black Sea Mediterranean Flyway, and the East Africa West Asia Flyway, which would allow S227N to migrate over a wide area, including western Europe and North America.


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