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H5N1 Bird Flu in People and Pigs in Tangerang Indonesia

Recombinomics Commentary

July 15, 2005

Beyond that, the Government covered up when the virus spread to pigs in Indonesia, and pigs of course are another possible crucible for human mutation. That in fact happened in the same town where these people have been infected, so that again is a concern.

The human H5N1 cases in Tangerang are cause for concern because of reported H5N1 in swine in the same region.  The H5N1 did not cause disease the swine, but was similar to isolates in Yunnan province, which has similarities with isolates from Qinghai.

Yunnan isolates also match polymorphisms in 2005 isolates from Vietnam, suggesting these isolates are widespread in southeast Asia and increase the efficiency of human to human transmission via recombination with the Vietnam isolates.

These data raise concerns regarding human-to-human transmission in Indonesia and China.  Moreover, since both countries have tried to control H5N1 via animal vaccines, the vaccine may have driven the evolution of H5N1 toward a common strain.

Regardless, H5N1 in swine allows for the acquisition of mammalian polymorphisms, which have been seen in the Qinghai isolates and may be present in the Tangerang isolates.

The infection of three family members with fatal H5N1 is cause for concern and supports boxun reports of many human infections in Qinghai province.  Migration of birds in Qinghai Lake could spread H5N1 throughout Asia with additional spread to Europe and North America.

Sequence data on the Indonesian isolates would be useful as the level of H5N1 steadi;y increases.

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