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Cambodia: Questionable report of co-infections with H5N1 and seasonal flu

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  • Cambodia: Questionable report of co-infections with H5N1 and seasonal flu

    It is unclear what is going on here. We already had reports of H1N1 and H3N2 co-infections in Cambodia recently:

    but now this article is reporting H5N1 infections with a seasonal flu co-infection. Given that the picture at the link is labeled as H1N1 virus, and that the individuals recovered, there may be some serious confusion between H5N1 avian flu and H1N1 swine flu:

    Double Flu Infections Pose Risk
    The bird flu virus infected several people who were also sick with seasonal flu, risking a genetic mixing of the two that could result in a greater threat.

    By Edyta Zielinska | November 4, 2011

    CDC/ Cynthia Goldsmith

    Recent surveillance has shown that several people in Cambodia were co-infected with avian influenza and the circulating flu virus, risking a re-combination event that could generate a greater viral threat.

    “Influenza viruses are continually changing,” Patrick Blair, director of respiratory diseases at the US Naval Health Research Center in San Diego, said in a press release. Each flu virus contains genetic material that gives it particular properties. Researchers worry that the H5N1 strain, commonly called avian influenza, which hasn’t been spreading well between humans, will obtain genetic material from seasonal flu that will allow it to jump between humans with ease. With a mortality rate of about 60 percent, a faster rate of spread could make avian flu a major risk.

    However, in this case, the infected individuals recovered and the two strains tested did not show evidence of recombination. But the identification of such individuals demonstrates that the risk exists. “Even though there may be a very small chance of this occurring, avian flu is still percolating in Southeast Asia and it continues to exhibit an extraordinarily high fatality rate in humans,” said Blair.