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H5N1 Confirmed Patient in Lop Buri Thailand

Recombinomics Commentary

August 2, 2006

The bird-flu epidemic seems to be spreading south as a suspected case was reported yesterday in the lower Central region.

The patient was identified as a 61-year-old woman in Lop Buri's Sa Bot district who fell ill with bird-flu-like symptoms soon after her backyard chickens all suddenly dropped dead.

She had initially tested positive for avian influenza and was being treated in an isolation ward pending confirmation from laboratory tests, said Dr Charn Tantiwa-raporn, director of Ban Mi Hospital, where the victim was admitted on Tuesday.

After being notified about the case, provincial livestock authorities rushed to the woman's home to check for bird flu.

The above case is the second H5N1 bird flu positive case in Thailand.  The initial fatal case was in Pichit.  A large number of patients with symptoms have been hospitalized.  However, the above case is the first reported positive since the fatal case in Pichit.  This case was in Lop Buri, indicating the H5N1 is spreading.

The earlier case was near the Laotian border, where there have been reported outbreaks in poultry.  Earlier this year H5N1 was isolated in Laos and Malaysia.  The H5N1 was the Fujan strain, which has been responsible for all reported human cases in China.  The Fujian strain is a Clade 2 strain, which is distinct from the Clade 1 isolates detected in Vietnam, Thailand, and Cambodia patients in the past.

Movement of the Fujian strain into Thailand is cause for concern.  More details on the H5N1 identified previously in patients or poultry would be useful.

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