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No M230I In Avian H5N1 Sequence In Egypt
Recombinomics Commentary
November 21, 2006

A new chicken HA H5N1 bird flu sequence from Egypt, A/chicken/Egypt/10845/NAMRU3/2006 has been released at GenBank.  The sequence has the common Qinghai cleavage site, REGRRKKR, and several additional polymorphisms that are specific to Egyptian isolates, or present in most Egyptian isolates. The sequence matches bird isolates from the outbreak in February, and therefore may represent H5N1 that has become resident in Egypt.

Edit - additional informationThe submission date and title for this chicken isolate match the recent teal isolates from Egypt, suggesting this isolate is from the H5N1 outbreak in Egypt in February.

The sequence did not have M230I, which was present in H5N1 isolated from the most recent confirmed case in Egypt.  M230I was cause for concern because it is present in all three human seasonal flu strains (H1N1, H3N2, influenza B) and creates a region of identity with influenza B at positions 226-230 (QSGRI) withing the receptor binding domain of influenza B.

Recently a suspect cluster of three siblings and a neighbor was defined.  The four cluster members were hospitalized last Thursday.  Two were unconscious, and there has been no update on test results from these patients.

More information on their status would be useful.

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