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Domestic Poultry Deaths in Macedonia Raise Pandemic Concerns

Recombinomics Commentary

October 17, 2005

In the villages Mogila and Germiyan near Bitola some 1,000 chickens and turkeys have died and another 1,000 dead chickens have been found in the Mikulyane village near Kumanovo (50km away from the Bulgarian border).

The above comments lend further support for suspicions of widespread  H5N1 wild bird flu in the region.  Outbreaks at three farms in two distinct locations in Macedonia is highly suspect.  H5N1 has already been confirmed in Romania and Turkey, so the reports in Macedonia create a circle around Bulgaria, where there are also reports of dead birds.

The concentration of the dead bird reports in the area is now very high (see map), and it seems likely that many outbreaks will be H5N1 laboratory confirmed.  However, all of the responses from the governments have been that the initial lab tests are negative.  These reports raise serious questions about the ability of these labs to detect H5N1.

Russia's recently release report of H5N1 in wild birds indicated that the infections were widespread and in dozens of species.  The report indicated that H5 had been found in Kalmayka, just north of the Caspian Sea, indicating H5 has been in Europe for some time.  However, the first reports filed with OIE by European countries was last week by Turkey and Romania.

The failure of the nearby countries to report H5N1, which is a reportable disease in animals, raises serious questions about monitoring and reporting.  The large number of species of wild birds that are now H5N1 positive and the ability of these birds to transport H5N1 over long distances indicates that H5N1 will soon be found worldwide.

The deficiencies in detecting H5N1 in birds in densely populated areas of Europe raise serous questions about monitoring H5N1 cases in humans.  As H5N1 extends its geographical reach, it will continue to expand its host range via recombining with local flu viruses. This accelerate evolution will lead to more H5N1 that can infect humans and monitoring in Europe, like Asia is scandalously poor.


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