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23 Bird Flu Cases in Northern Vietnam
June 17, 2005
>> The institute is treating a total of 23 local people with bird flu symptoms, of whom 11 have been confirmed to have contracted bird flu virus strain H5N1 by the hospital's officials, said the paper. The bird flu patients, all from northern localities, are instable health condition. <<
The treatment of 23 bird flu cases represents an all time high for confirmed or suspected bird flu cases. An earlier report described nine patients, which was followed by another report with two confirmed patients and 5 patients positive for influenza A. Those five were awaiting H5N1 test results. Thus it would appear that two patients were admitted in the first week of June, 13 in the second week, and 8 more so far this week.
Although most of these cases are described as mild, the positive result in the physician is a strong indication of human-to-human transmission. The large number of admissions this month clearly move the phase of the pandemic to 5. Since these cases are mild, the number of unreported cases may be markedly higher, indicating the pandemic in northern Vietnam has already moved to phase 6.
Similarly, the unofficial reports on human cases in Qinghai and Xinjiang provinces in China suggest that region is also experiencing phase 6 pandemic conditions, but with a strain that is markedly more lethal than northern Vietnam.
The major outbreaks demand a rapid response, yet there are no publicly available 2005 H5N1 sequences at GenBank. Moreover, many suspect countries like India and Bangladesh have yet to be H5N1 tested.
As the pandemic of 2005 begins to spin out of control, the monitoring of H5N1 reamins scandalously poor.
© 2005 Recombinomics. All rights reserved.