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Wednesday, October 26, 2005

A Human Case Of Bird Flu On Reunion?

Just breaking news: Daily Telegraph (only English article I could find):
A 43-year-old Frenchman recently returned to the Indian Ocean island of Reunion from a trip to Thailand is feared to be infected with the potentially lethal bird flu virus, according to preliminary tests, authorities said.
A doctor at the Bellepierre hospital in the island's main city of Saint Denis which is treating the man and keeping him under quarantine said he was believed to have been exposed to the virus during a trip to a bird park in Thailand during a vacation taken October 12-19.
What's not in this article (see CurEvents.com) is that they are also testing two other people who were on the same trip who are showing flu symptoms, and that the nose swab was inconclusive but that the throat swab tested positive. That corresponds well with the autopsy data that show that the virus clears early from the upper respiratory tract.

Furthermore, there have been recent human clusters in both Indonesia and Thailand. Commentary at Recombinomics.

Is this the first documented case of those infected travelling?

Huge implications.
No, it has happened before. However, the big jump in infections in Thailand and Indonesia are raising suspicions, as are the numerous clusters.

Also, if this man and either of the other two suspected cases contracted the flu in a bird park, then the virus out there is so contagious that wild birds are likely to contaminate areas and cause human disease. Think, for example, of pigeons in cities.

Whether this is H2H or B2H, it is disturbing.
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