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H5 Bird Flu Confirmed in Afghanistan  

Recombinomics Commentary

March 13, 2006

In impoverished Afghanistan, the government and the United Nations said the H5 subtype of the bird flu virus has been found in a small number of poultry but it was not yet known if it was the deadly H5N1 strain.

"H5 has been found in five samples in Afghanistan. The N sub-type, we're expecting that to be determined, possibly in a matter of hours," U.N. spokesman Adrian Edwards told the news conference.

The FAO said there was a high risk the virus was the deadly H5N1 strain.

Afghanistan had satisfactory facilities to detect outbreaks but containing them would be a concern, said FAO representative Serge Verniau.

The above comments confirming H5 in Afghanistan strongly suggest that the H5 will be H5N1.  Afghanistan neighbors in Pakistan and India have already confirmed H5N1 and further spread to adjacent countries was expected.

The death of a cat after eating dead birds also supports H5N1 infections and likely increases the number of H5N1 strains causing fatal infections in cats.

More information on the H5 isolates in poultry and cats in Afghanistan would be useful.

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