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H5N1 in Qinghai China Imported from India?

Recombinomics Commentary
May 21, 2005

>> The birds were found dead on May 4 in Qinghai province's Gangcha city, the official Xinhua News Agency reported, citing the ministry.

The ministry found the birds died of the deadly H5N1 flu strain, but "the disease did not spread to human kind or fowl,'' Xinhua said. It did not say how many birds had died, or where they came from.  <<

The acknowledgement that the wild bird die-off in early May was linked to H5N1 is somewhat refreshing, but not reassuring.  Initial reports indicated H5N1 had been ruled out, so it is unclear if these earlier statement represented a lack of transparency, or more use of mismatched primers to generate false negatives.  The comments could have also indicated the clinical presentation of the wild ducks were unusual.

The details remain somewhat sketchy.  The recent report describes fatal H5N1 infections in Gangcha city on May 4 and the earlier report describe bar head geese the began dying May 6 on Bird Island in nearby Qinghai Lake.  There were 178 fatalities on the western side of the lake. 

Since the dead geese were initially said to be negative for bird flu, it is unclear if other wild birds were tested.  The geese however arrive at the Qinghai Lake Nature Reserve in May and June after spending the winter on the plains of India.

India has recently acknowledged H5N1 antibodies in sera from 3 poultry workers collected in 2002.  Currently there are fatal infections in India, which have been diagnosed as miningococcemia and meningitis, which are secondary infections of influenza.

Although WHO had announced in Febraury that unexplained deaths would be tested for H5N1, there is little evidence that the mysterious meningococcal-like deaths in the Philippines, or the recent or earlier deaths in India were tested for H5N1.

Thus, while WHO has called two urgent meetings to focus of the human-to-human spread of H5N1 in northern Vietnam, a plan to correct the scandalously poor surveillance remains unclear, even though WHO has acknowledged that the 2005 pandemic may have begun

There have been no public announcement of results of H5N1 testing of dead patients in the Philippines or India, although WHO has made announcements that the human-to-human transmission in northern Vietnam is of a milder disease and is probable. 

Clearly the WHO is not taking the 2005 H5N1 pandemic seriously. 

They are simply putting out fires in the most obvious areas and making plans to bury the bodies.

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