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H5N1 Bird Flu Re-emergence in Sudan
Recombinomics Commentary

September 12, 2006

The chairperson of the National Task Force on Bird Flu, Dr. Sam
Okware, said yesterday [10 Sep 2006] the outbreak was confirmed on 6
Sep 2006, and is affecting local chickens.

He directed the district health officers and district veterinary
officers in Nebbi, Arua, Koboko, Yumbe, Moyo, Adjumani, Pader, Gulu,
Kitgum, Lira. Apac, Kaabong, Kotido and Moroto districts to
strengthen their task forces on bird flu to enhance surveillance and
public education.

The above comments confirm H5N1 bird flu in southern Sudan and raise the possibility of spread through the Rift Valley and into Uganda and Kenya.  The recent reports of H5N1 in several locations in Egypt suggested H5N1 was also present in neighboring countries.  Although the reported infections in Egypt and Sudan were in domestic poultry, wild bird surveillance in Africa is poor and H5N1 is likely to be endemic in many countries in Africa.

Although conservation groups failed to find H5N1 in wild birds, sequences of H5N1 in Egypt, Sudan, Djibouti, Nigeria, Niger, and Ivory Coast indicate all isolates are the Qinghai strain and represent multiple independent introductions.  The Qinghai strain became established in long range migratory birds in May of 2005 and subsequently introduced the Qinghai strain into Europe. The Middle East, and Africa.  Regions in Egypt and the Sudan would be affected by infected birds that travel these migration routes and the introduction into Africa was significantly more extensive than reported last season.  The H5N1 in the migratory birds spreads to local wild birds and eradication efforts have been minimal.

Therefore a re-emergence of H5N1 is expected throughout Africa, and the recent reports in Egypt and Sudan are the first of a long series of expected H5N1 bird flu reports for the upcoming season.

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