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Qinghai H5N1 in Ghana?

Recombinomics Commentary
May 1, 2007

A discovery was said to have been made at the port city of Tema.

Joy News sources at the Veterinary Services Department say even though initial checks suggest it might be bird flu, further checks will be needed for a definite conclusion to be reached.

According to the sources a blood specimen is being readied for analysis at the World Health Organisation’s laboratories in Italy.

The above comments suggest H5N1 has been detected in Ghana. Most samples sent to WHO labs for confirmation are locally positive, and most samples are confirmed, especially when the positive host is a bird.

Qinghai H5N1 in Ghana is not unexpected.  H5N1 has been confirmed in the Ivory Coast to the west, Burkina Faso and Niger to the north, and Nigeria and Cameroon to the east.  Moreover Ghana is within the intersection of the Black Sea / Mediterranean Flyway as well as the East Atlantic Flyway.

The sequence of H5N1 in Ghana would be of interest.  The first human H5N1 case was reported in Nigeria earlier this year, and the H5N1 contained a number of regional polymorphisms, including some also found in Egypt.  H5N1 in Egypt this season is markedly more complex, and sequences from Ghana can be compared to 2006 isolates from neighboring countries in western Africa.

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