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Pranee / Pranom Family H5N1 Confirmation

The Thai confirmation linked above is very much like the confirmation a month ago in Vietnam.  Both cases almost certainly involved human to human transmission of H5N1.  The two sets of patients were remarkably similar.  In both instances, the investigation did not begin until the initial cases had died and no material was available for testing.  The transmission was to a relative, who was caring for the initial patients, and samples from the care giver were positive for H5N1

The difference in the Thai cases was not the virus, but the fact that the mother had no contact with a common source, other than the sick child (the child became ill in northern Thailand while the mother was in Bangkok).  The aunt, Pranom, did have contact with chickens, but also developed symptoms after visiting the sick child.

Because this is not really new, it does not signal a new mutation or the start of a pandemic.  A pandemic requires that the human to human transmission happens easily and frequently.  In both families described above, transmission probably required close contact, so the transmission does not necessarily signal a pandemic or a new genetic change.


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