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H5N1 Bird Flu Cluster in Navapur India Expands

Recombinomics Commentary

February 22, 2006

Ganesh started vomiting blood on February 9 after which he was admitted to a local hospital in Vyara, around 40 km from here. The doctors at Vyara referred Ganesh's case to Surat the very next day.

After being admitted at Surat, Ganesh died on February 17. "At least the symptoms of bird flu matched with what Ganesh had

After Ganesh's death on last Friday, blood samples of all the family members staying with Ganesh were collected. After this, two brothers of Ganesh and his mama (uncle) have been admitted to the isolation ward of Navapur sub district hospital.

The above comments strongly suggest that the index case in India did have bird flu.  In addition to the family members described above, two additional contacts with symptoms were admitted.  Recent reports indicate two patients in Navapur have tested positive for H5N1.

These data suggest the number of positives in the above clusters may be growing.  However, the initial positive data for the index case has been denied because of lack of contact with poultry.

The comments raise transparency issues in India.  India historically has denied H5N1 in patients or poultry, even though poultry workers have been reported to have H5N1 antibodies.  In addition there have been large die-offs of migratory birds and crows, yet links to H5N1 in these cases have also been denied.

The bar-headed geese linked to H5N1 at Qinghai Lake winter in India, strong suggesting that H5N1 is in migratory birds in India.  These associations also raise the possibility that the H5N1 detected at Qinghai Lake originated in India.  Much of the H5N1 testing in India has been done by the poultry association.  They indicated that the positive H5N1 data in western India was false, and should be repeated.

Comments on negative test results on poultry, people, and migratory birds in India remain suspect.


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