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H5 in Malaysia
November 23, 2004
>>But laboratory tests on poultry samples taken about two weeks ago from a village in the northern state of Kelantan detected the H5 strain of avian influenza that only affects birds, said Veterinary Services Department Director-General Hawari Hussein. More tests needed to be done to confirm whether it was the H5N1 strain of the virus that is known to infect humans, he told Reuters. <<
The above comments are confusing at best. Earlier isolates from Malaysia were H5N1 and recent H5N1 infections in Vietnam and Thailand have been reported. Since a new season is beginning, with new sequences arriving via migratory birds, there will be new recombinants formed. Last season, the reported human cases were limited to Vietnam and Thailand and these isolates did have some unique polymorphisms. However, these new polymorphisms could spread throughout the region as more birds pass through Vietnam and Thailand and new recombinant with new potentials for human disease evolve.
Recent reports of hundreds of dead H5N1 infected dead pigeons in Thailand as well as thousands of dead ducks in Vietnam (with leg paralysis), leave the pandemic potential of new isolates uncertain.