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H5N1 Bird Flu Fatality in Surat India
February 18, 2006
A poultry farm owner died on Friday in Surat district
Ganesh Sonarkar, 27, was a resident of Nandurbar district of Maharashtra state
Sonarkar was admitted to a hospital in the town about 10 days ago and was "provisionally diagnosed with bird flu".
"He died on Friday," Tiwari said.
The above comments indicate fatal H5N1 bird flu has spread to India. Serum samples from eight people are be analyzed for H5N1 and four more people are under observation. All of these cases are in western India, near a major H5N1 poultry outbreak (see map).
India is in the Central South Asia flyway, which also includes Qinghai Lake, suggesting the infections are due to the H5N1 Qinghai strain. Confirmed fatalities have also been reported in Turkey and Iraq. The index case in Turkey had S227N in HA of the isolated H5N1. This polymorphism had been predicted based on recombination between H5N1 and H9N2. This prediction was based on donor sequences in the Middle East (Israel). However, H9N2 from nearby areas, including Turkey, Pakistan, and India were not in the database, raising the possibility that the same donor sequences were present. H9N2 is endemic in India and Pakistan.
Although H5N1 is spreading in regions in western India, crows were dying near Mumbai last year with H5N1 symptoms. In addition, the bar-headed geese that died in May of last year also were H5N1 positive. These geese and other long range migratory waterfowl winter in India, where poultry workers have tested positive for H5N1 antibodies.
Confirmed H5N1 cases in birds and at least one person have been reported in western India. However, additional poultry deaths have been reported in northeastern India.
Information on the symptoms of patients being tested would be useful as would sequence data on the H5N1, including S227N in human cases.