Friday, October 5, 2007

Avian Flu Take Genetic Step Toward Humans

The Avian Flu virus now has a widespread mutation that allows it to infect humans more easily. The mutation is found in European and African birds, and the reason it can jump more easily to a human host is a mutation that allows it to survive in the upper respiratory track. (Birds are 106 F normally so to jump to the colder human body requires some change from the avian form of the virus). The scariest thing is that if Tb can spread so rapidly among those infected with HIV/AIDS, I shudder to think at what a flu pandemic originating in Africa would do. Fortunately, this article says the virus isn't quite at pandemic level yet:

1 comment:

virophile said...

Along the lines of fatal bird flu - as far as I know the test of the women in question in this article has not been published, but I still think it's scary...

Indonesia: Suspected fatal case in Riau province

Date: Fri 5 Oct 2007
Source: (Independent online), Sapa-AFP report [edited]

An Indonesian woman suspected of being infected with bird flu died on Friday [5 Oct 2007] on the island of Sumatra, a hospital official there said. Blood and tissue samples from the 44-year-old victim have been sent for testing in Jakarta, said Azizman Daad, a doctor at the Arifin Achmad Hospital in Riau province said.

Two tests must come back positive for the H5N1 virus before a victim
is confirmed as part of the official bird flu death toll in
Indonesia, which is the highest in the world at 86. If confirmed, the
latest victim would be the nation's 87th fatality.

"The woman who died early this morning was showing symptoms of bird flu infection, such as high fever, coughing and breathing
difficulties," he told AFP (Agence France Presse). Daad said it was
unclear whether the woman, who lived in a residential complex run by US oil company Caltex, had been in contact with poultry.

H5N1 is endemic in birds across nearly all of Indonesia. Indonesia,
the world's 4th most populous nation, has reported 107 bird flu
infections, including the fatalities, since it recorded its 1st case in July 2005.