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Death Toll From Mysterious Illness Jumps to 17 In Sichuan China

Recombinomics Commentary

July 24, 2005

An unidentified disease have claimed lives of 17 local farmers and stricken 41 others as of Saturday noon in southwest China's Sichuan Province, the provincial health department said Sunday.

Local hospitals have received 58 patients from 49 villages of 23 different townships in the city of Ziyang and its neighboring city of Neijiang over the past four weeks.

All the patients showed similar symptoms like high fever, fatigue, nausea and vomiting and became comatose later with bruises under the skin.

Of all the hospitalized, two have recovered and 12 others are in critical condition and 27 are in stable condition.

The above jump in the death toll from 9 to 17 is consistent with reports from residents that the initial numbers were low.  The condition sounds like H5N1 bird flu.  H5N1 has neurotropic aspects and a boxun report describes patient's skin turning dark, which was a classical description of soldiers dying from pandemic flu in 1918.

In 1918 pandemic flu was frequently mis-diagnoses, and the large number of H5N1 variants produce a variety of symptoms, including bleeding under the skin.  The index case in Thailand was initially diagnosed as dengue hemorrhagic fever because of bleeding and a mysterious illness in Thailand was very similar to the cases in China.  The Thai case was linked to the slaughter of a wild boar, but a final diagnosis was not made.

Initial reports suggest the current outbreak in China is due to the slaughter of sheep or pigs.  H5N1 infection of sheep has not been reported previously, but prior to last year there were no reports of H5N1 in cats or H3N8 in dogs.  H5N1 appears to be expanding its host range and the earlier boxun report on H5N1 in Qinghai included the deaths of sheep. 400 sheep have also been reported to have mysteriously died in Mongolia.  Thus, the sheep in Mongolia and Sichuan province in China, as well as dead birds in Xinjiang Province in China and Novisibirsk in Russia have pretty much encircled the Qinghai Lake region as H5N1 radiates outward as migratory birds continue to migrate.

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