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H5N1 Wild Bird Flu In Canada?

Recombinomics Commentary

October 31, 2005

"The evidence we have observed strongly indicates that these healthy birds were not infected with the same virus that is currently present in Asia," Jim Clark of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency told a news conference.

A total of 33 birds in Canada were found to be carrying the H5 version of the virus.

The only evidence that would indicate that the birds are not infected with Asian HPAI H5N1 wild bird flu would be sequence data or an IVPI test.  Simply noting that the birds were healthy would not give much information.

H5N1 has been isolated from healthy wild birds in Russia.  The H5N1 was closely related to H5N1 from Qinghai Lake and has RRRKKR at the HA cleavage site was well as the PB2 polymorphism E627K.

Sequence data should conclusively tell the story.  H5 has been found previously in the Americas. But it is fairly rare and HPAI H5N1 with RRRKKR at the HA cleavage site has never been reported in the Americas.

The sequence of the HA cleavage site should be obtained quickly, and the result would determine if H5N1 wild bird flu has migrated to North America.


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