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H5N1 Confirmed in Spain

Recombinomics Commentary

July 7, 2006

SPANISH state radio said today the country's first case of H5N1 bird flu had been confirmed in a great crested grebe in the city of Vitoria…….

A great crested grebe is a migratory waterbird.

Spanish national radio said the dead bird had been found about six weeks ago near the northern city of Vitoria.

The above comments indicate that the enhanced surveillance in Europe has a major political component.  The delay of six weeks in the confirmation of the H5N1 raises serious transparency issues.  This report follows yesterday's Nature report on distinct H5N1 strains in Lagos, Nigeria, which is in the East Atlantic Flyway (EAF).

The city of Victoria is in the EAF, as is Denmark, which also reported H5N1 on a farm yesterday.  The EAF includes northeastern Canada, which then links to the East Americas Flyway, which includes Prince Edward Island.  H5 was confirmed in a dead goose on PEI last month, but the sample had degraded sometime between the death of the goose on June 5 and shipment to Winnipeg almost two weeks later.

H5N1 bird flu is in migratory birds and spreading along well established flyways. 

Transparent and timely reporting by surveillance sites along these pathways remain areas of concern.

H5N1 does not read press releases.

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