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H5 Bird Flu Linked to Asymptomatic Pet Bird in Jakarta Suburb

Recombinomics Commentary

July 29, 2005

The Minister of Agriculture stated that laboratory results detected H5-infected bird faeces in a bird cage opposite side of the road of the family's house; cloacal and throat swabs of the pet bird inside the cage were negative for H5. This is the first, and, thus far, the only, indication of a possible source of exposure. Other environmental sampling was negative.

The WHO report identifies a possible source of the H5N1, which may be a logical link for the index case, and 8 year old gir from Tangergang, a suburb of Jakarta, Indonesia..  However, the pet bird source will probably create a problem for WHO, since it is unlikely that the 1 year old or 38 year old also had contact with the neighbor's pet bird.

If the bird does not go outside, it also creates a question of how the bird was infected.  It also raises issues regarding H5N1 infections in other pet birds and other pet bird to human transmissions.   Earlier reports from Ho Chi Mhn City also mentioned H5N1 positive pets.  The  H5 in the bird cage also raises questions about migratory birds transmitting H5N1.

The sequences from the pet bird and patients may be useful for tracing bird flu in this cluster, but one way or another, H5N1 seems to be flying around Jakarta, and the H5N1 version transmits to humans and from humans.

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