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Soldier With Mild Confirmed H5N1 Raises Pandemic Concerns

Recombinomics Commentary 15:08
April 22, 2008

Tests have shown that the virus detected in the patient's body was an H5 strain, according to the Korea Center for Disease Control and Prevention. It will take up to three weeks for a lab to confirm whether or not the strain is the deadly H5N1 strain, which has caused massive outbreaks in the Jeolla region since April 1.

The young corporal, identified only by his family name Cho, was sent to help kill infected chickens and ducks on Friday and Saturday. He suffered from high fever and was transported to an army hospital Sunday.

Authorities said his sickness was not related to the bird flu and that his condition has improved.

The above comments provide more detail on the H5N1 infected soldier in South Korea.  The “H5” designation for the soldier is similar to comments on the H5 infected birds in South Korea.  There is no data supporting anything other than H5N1 for the outbreaks in South Korea.  In the OIE report, some were H5N1 confirmed while others were HPAI H5 confirmed at the time of filing.  No H5 had been confirmed to be low path H5.

The rapid recovery could have been due to both antibiotic and Tamiflu treatment, if the patient had secondary bacterial pneumonia.  However, the bacterial infection does not invalidate the H5 detection.

More detail on how the soldier was infected would be useful.  Pictures of culling operations showed cullers in PPE’s from head to toe.  Moreover, cullers are usually on prophylactic Tamiflu (oseltamivir).

The denial of the associated of bird flu symptoms with H5N1 infections raise concerns of additional H5N1 patients that are not considered H5N1 infections because of arbitrary and capricious definitions.  The infected culler also raises concerns about infected farmers who have not used PPE’s or Tamiflu.

The H5 positive result raises concerns of widespread mild H5N1 patients in South Korea as well as Bangladesh and India.  The passage of H5N1 through human hosts increases the likelihood of human adaptation and efficient transmission.

More information on the patient, PPE’s and prophylaxis would be useful.

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