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H5N1 Dead Pigeons
November 19, 2004
>>after a school in the province's Thung Saliem district reported to the district office of a mysterious death of many pigeons in the neighborhood where the school is located.<<
Dead pigeons infected with H5N1 in a province with a recently reported fatal H5N1 case is clearly cause for concern. The above observations suggest H5N1 infections can be transmitted via infected birds under a variety of conditions. Recent laboratory observations indicated that H5N1 isolates from Thailand could generate asymptomatic ducks that could shed large amounts of relatively stable virus. The report linked above suggests that current viruses can also kill pigeons. This is a concern because recently H5N1 infections in tigers in a zoo in Thailand led to the deaths of 147 animals and infection via uncooked chickens was the suspected cause. Thus, it seems likely that the virus could spread to wild of domestic cats via dead birds, including pigeons. These infection routes could generate more recombinations also via migrating birds with novel avian influenza sequences.