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H5N1 and H7N1 Bird Flu in West Java Indonesia

Recombinomics Commentary
March 3, 2005

>> The head of farm animal health at the West Java Animal Husbandry Office, Musni Suatmodjo, said on Wednesday avian influenza, or bird flu, had spread to five regencies and municipalities in the province.

He identified them as Cirebon regency and municipality, Subang regency, Indramayu regency and Sukabumi regency.

Musni said Cirebon municipality had the most reported cases of bird flu, with about 12,000 chickens killed by the H5n1 and H7n1 viruses.

"The affected area is smaller than last year. In early 2004, (the bird flu) spread to 10 areas. We hope to reduce the number of cases this year," he said in Bandung.  <<

The detection of H5N1 and H7N1 co-circulating in Indonesia is cause for concern.  Although there have been no reports of human infections in Indonesia, there were H7N7 and H7N3 outbreaks in The Netherlands in 2003, and British Columbia in 2004 that included human infections.  Recent reports have indicated that human-to-human transmission of H7N7 was efficient.  These infections were mild or asymptomatic.  In British Columbia, low pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI) converted to high pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) via non-homologous recombination.

Dual infections by H5N1 and H7N1 could lead to reassortants or recombinants that efficiently transmitted human to human.  Earlier reports from Indonesia had described H5N1 outbreaks in West Java and spread to Mataram.  At the time there was concern over further spread during the cooler rainy season.

The detection of both H5N1 and H7N1 in Indonesia is cause for concern.

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