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H5 Bird Flu Antibodies in Altai Kray Russia

Recombinomics Commentary

May 10, 2006

The monitoring was conducted in late April in the Klyuchevskoi, Uglovsky and Khabarsky districts. Specialists ran tests on 66 blood samples, the regional veterinary department told Itar-Tass on Wednesday.

"One duck shot on Lake Shuga in the Uglovsky district, and four ducks from Lake Gusinoye, Khabarsky district, were disease carries, and must have had contacts with sick birds," the department said.

The detection of five ducks with H5 antibodies suggests that H5N1 infections in Russia this season will top levels reported for last year.  H5N1 was reported in Qinghai province last year, and recent reports have described fatal H5N1 infections in bar headed geese in tow counties.  These reports suggest H5N1 is more widespread this season in Qinghai Province.

Russia recently reported H5 antibodies in northwest Russia, again supporting a more widespread distribution.  The above comments referred to ducks in Altai Kray, where there were frequent outbreaks of H5N1 infections last summer.  However, the first reports of H5N1 in Russia were in mid-July.  The recent report may reflect increased monitoring, but NIAID funded a research project with Vector Labs near Chany Lake and the lab isolated H5N1 fro many wild and domestic sources in July, but did not report earlier detection of H5N1.

The increased awareness of H5N1 in long range migratory birds this season should provide a more complete picture of the transport and transmission of the H5N1 Qinghai strain, as well as its continuing evolution.


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