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H5N1 Confirmed in Child in Dhaka Bangladesh
Recombinomics Commentary 14:53
May 22, 2008
The boy from a slum in the capital Dhaka 'has survived. He has been quarantined and his condition has improved,' Mr Rahman said. 'Although there is no farm in the neighbourhood we suspect that he got the illness after his family bought chickens from a farm,' he said.
The above comments describe the first confirmed H5N1 in Bangladesh. Although human infections in Bangladesh are not a surprise, the timing of the confirmation is curious. In January, H5N1 infections in Bangladesh and west Bengal were widespread (see satellite maps here and here). Bangladesh had also confirmed H5N1 in wild birds, including crows, and dead crows were reported in Dhaka. Although sequences from Bangladesh have not been made public, clade 2.2.3 was suspected based on prior infections in India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan in poultry. The human infections in Pakistan were also said to be clade 2.2, but those sequences have also been withheld.
Similarly, sequences from recent outbreaks in India (West Bengal and Tripura) have also been withheld, but wild bird deaths have been reported in both regions, and deaths in Tripura were associated with deaths of dogs, cats, and jackals which ate the birds. Thus, it is likely that H5N1 in eastern India is closely related to the H5N1 in Bangladesh, and there have also been unreported human cases in India.
More information on additional “suspect” human samples from Bangladesh and India would be useful, as would release of H5N1 sequences from both countries.
Recombinomics Paper at Nature Precedings