Wednesday, October 26, 2005
Yellow Alert On Bird Flu
According to a Reunion island newspaper the preliminary tests were positive for H5N1 and the only known contact with birds was that they drove across the bird park in an air-conditioned bus. On the other hand, the man is supposed to be Thai, so maybe he caught it when circulating. But what's worse is that two more people are reported (in some accounts) as testing positive in the preliminary tests. The Thai gentleman was reported to have a severe headache, so he may have the neurological version. (Some strains of H5N1 have picked up a gene sequence that is associated with neurological disease.)
In French. A rough translation in English.
Another news article saying two more out of the group of 19 may be positive for H5N1. They should test the whole group - these ones were only tested because they showed flu symptoms. The timing is a bit late for onset. The trip was from the 12th through the 19th.
If confirmed, this really is not such a surprise if you have been following the Indonesian news. They have way too many clusters there for this not to be transmitting from one person to another, and the recent reports out of Thailand are also of some clusters.
Most of those later in the clusters in Indonesia seem to survive, though. The guess is that the index cases are getting full bore infections and that the infections caught from human contact may be pretty mild. However, this may not last.
The WHO's nonsense about no human to human transmission is just about to end, as is tourism to Indonesia and Thailand. You can see why this type of news would be highly controversial and why these countries aren't testing the general population. Everyone always knew that it would end with cases being diagnosed in the west, which is why Bush was pleading for full disclosure.