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H5N1 Wild Bird Flu Confirmed in Yesil Kazakhstan

Recombinomics Commentary

August 18, 2005

Starting August 15 the Yesil district, North Kazakhstan oblast has been held in quarantine for "bird flu". It is the second oblast district where quarantine operations are underway not to let high-pathogenic "bird flu" spread.

As the chief of Yesil region's territorial agriculture and land relations department of Agriculture Ministry of Kazakhstan Serik Rakhmetov said, according to the expertise conducted in Astana were found out antibodies to the "bird flu" virus.

The confirmation of an additional outbreak in Kazahkstans adds to data indicating the migratory east-west path across northern Kazahkstan and southern Siberia is broad (see map).  Kazahkstan confirmed H5N1 with an antibody test.  It will be useful to isolate and sequence H5N1 from this southern portion of the path.  H5N1 has now also been confirmed in Kalmykia in Russian, which is near the Caspian Sea and Kazahkstan's western border.  However, it is unclear if the H5N1 detected there is from the northern path bending south, or from a separate southern route which may have moved from Tacheng in Xinjiang, adjacent to Kazahkstan's eastern border, or if the H5N1 first moved north to Chany Lake in Novosibirsk.

The rapid spread of H5N1 allows for collection of sequence data to determine the number of migratory routes contributing to the spread.  As the H5N1 geographical reach broadens, the exact route may be moot.  However, the genetic diversity in the H5N1 will be important for development of future vaccines.


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