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H5N1 Wild Bird Flu at Ragunan Zoo in Jakarta Indonesia?

Recombinomics Commentary

September 19, 2005

The minister said that among the birds that had tested positive for bird flu were peacocks, mynahs, wild ducks, pigmy chickens, eagles and herons.

The H5N1 positive wild ducks raise the possibility that the outbreak at the Ragunan Zoo, south of Jakarta, may be linked to migratory birds.  Migratory birds were involved in H5N1 transport and transmission in Qinghai and Xinjiang provinces in China as well as Russia, Kazakhstan, and Mongolia.

After a lull in outbreaks, new outbreaks in Russia may signal the migration of these birds to warmer climates.  Birds from Qinghai Lake were expected to fly to the south and east, which could transmit H5N1 to birds that winter in southeast Asia.

The sequences of the H5N1 wild bird flu at Qinghai Lake in China or Chany Lake in Russia are similar to each other, but distinct from earlier sequences from Indonesia.  Thus, sequencing of the H5N1 from the birds at the Ragunan Zoo should determine if the H5N1 is similar to sequences from poultry in Java or sequences from Qinghai Lake.  Sequencing would also determine if recombinants between the two distinct sequences had been formed.

Recombination drives H5N1 evolution, and such recombination may account for the dramatic up tick of H5N1 cases in children in the Tangerang section of Indonesia, in a southwest suburb of Jakarta.


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