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Suspect H5N1 Wild Bird Flu Patient Hospitalized in Portugal
October 25, 2005
in the northern town of Santa Maria da Feira, a man in his 60s was hospitalised late yesterday and given Tamiflu, a drug used to treat avian influenza, as a precaution after he reported flu symptoms, having found dead chickens on his farm.
The above case is cause for concern. There have been reports of dead wild birds in Portugal, as well as many countries in Europe. There have been no confirmed human cases, although there were pneumonia cases in Russia and Kazakhstan. These prior cases tested negative fro H5N1, but the cause of the pneumonia was not reported.
The H5N1 wild bird flu is evolving. The sequence of a goose isolate from Novosibirsk was virtually identical to the NA sequences from Qinghai Lake, but had several differences in HA.
The HA can gain affinity for mammalian receptors via a single nucleotide change, and this small change could significantly affect H5NB1 transmission to and between humans.
More clinical information on this patient would be useful.