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Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Nigerian H5N1 Confirmed.

Sigh. We knew it was coming, but the prospect of Africa also coping with bird flu is rather intimidating. The samples were taken Jan 16:
The deadly H5N1 bird flu virus has been detected on a large commercial chicken farm in Nigeria -- the first reported outbreak in Africa, the World Organization for Animal Health said Wednesday.
...
Nigeria said the outbreak was on a farm in Jaji, a village in the northern state of Kaduna. Agriculture Minister Adamu Bello told reporters in Abuja that the deadly strain of the virus was detected in samples taken Jan. 16 from birds on the farm.

But birds are dying elsewhere in Nigeria, and sick birds are being rushed to the market. According to Dr. Niman, the Italian lab said it looks like the Qinghai strain. FluClinic has a thread with a map, if you are interested.

Comments:
MOM:

It's in the migratory waterfowl or the Hajji Pilgrims if it showed up in a backwater that remote.

Poor damned Africans...as if they didn't have enough ways to die.

It's also interesting that if you draw a line at any point along an arc from Romania through Turkey and on into Central Asia, with the other end of the line anchored on Nigeria, you will have drawn a line of death across the Middle East.

Imagine H5N1 loose in Cairo.

Or Mecca during the Hajj.

Regards;
 
Well, it looks like it could be migrating waterfowl, because once again, there is water nearby and that is a place where several different migrations are supposed to cross. But it already seems widespread - it must have been there for several months.

This can't be human to human yet because it would have kicked off already from the Haj. But it seems to be getting close. It looks like it is in southern Iraq too.

Contemplating H5N1 loose in Africa is enough to make your hair turn gray. There are so many remote areas with so many marginal populations dependent upon chickens and pigs. Even if no human ever caught it, H5N1 in Africa would be an overwhelming burden that would result in thousands of human deaths.

I can't stand to think of H5N1 loose in Cairo, or Mumbai. That arc of death is fixing to show up in the Americas soon.

Qinghai H5N1 moved to Asia, Mongolia, Central Asia, the Volga, the Danube - it's traveling with the wild birds AND the domestic birds. Germany is running around preparing culling centers. They expect it in March. Ordnung muss sein.

I expect it here next year. It might come with the wild birds, it might come to SA with poultry, or it might arrive with a human tourist. But it is headed our way.
 
That it might have originated in KSA during the Hajj is a frightening thought.

In fact, if that is so, were in it- deep.
 
I don't think it did. We would be seeing a different pattern. But as birds migrate, they infect different areas, and then the domestic fowl spread it as well. Huge swathes of Africa don't have the ability to counter this at all.

And they won't pick up sporadic human cases against the background of other diseases in those areas.
 
MOM:

"And they won't pick up sporadic human cases against the background of other diseases in those areas."

Which is why, were I an epidemiologist, I would hang my shingle in Mecca.

Every year the pilgrim population migrates to and from the place.

Some other places to keep an eye on, although not as important today in the age of air travel, would be Port Said and Port Suez, Nairobi, Singapore, and Panama.

Regards;
 
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