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H5N1 in Swine in Indonesia

Recombinomics Commentary

April 13, 2005

>>  The newspaper quoted a scientist from the Airlangga University as saying that the virus has not appeared in the pig's innards yet, however, it has penetrated into its body. The virus has been confirmed as H5N1, similar to those found in Yunnan province of China, but different from those detected in Thailand, Viet Nam and Cambodia. The virus in these countries can be transmitted from birds to humans. <<

More details on the above comments were published in ProMed, which indicated that all 8 genes were identified in throat swabs.  There was a similar finding in Vietnam last season, but the virus was in nasal swabs.  The question of infection was raised because the virus could simply be on the snouts of pigs, and not actually circulating via an infection.  Finding the viral genes in throat swabs makes infection more likely.

The virus is similar to isolates in Yunnan, which was found last season in poultry isolates in Indonesia.  These isolates were of the Z genotype, which was the same as most of the H5N1 isolates from 2004, including Vietnam and Thailand.  There were regional polymorphisms, and some of these polymorphisms were shared between Yunnan and Indonesia.

H5N1 has also been found in swine in China, but those isolates were similar to earlier H5N1 and were quite distinct from the Z genotype.

In Vietnam, the isolates had regional polymorphisms commonly found in mammalian isolates, suggesting that these were acquired during infections of humans or pigs.  Finding H5N1 in pigs in Indonesia, raises the possibility of similar acquisitions, which in Vietnam and Thailand is associated with fatal human infections.

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