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New China case suggests H5N1 now more infectious-HK

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  • New China case suggests H5N1 now more infectious-HK

    New China case suggests H5N1 now more infectious-HK
    16 Jun 2006 07:00:33 GMT

    HONG KONG, June 16 (Reuters) - China's latest human bird flu infection is worrying as it indicates that the H5N1 virus may have mutated and become as infectious in warm months as it is in cooler ones, Hong Kong's health minister said on Friday.

    The H5N1 virus thrives in lower temperatures and is more infectious in the cooler months between October and March in the northern hemisphere.

    But China's confirmation on Thursday that a 31-year-old truck driver in the southern city of Shenzhen had been infected by the disease has brought uneasiness.

    "Is this because the virus has changed, so that it can be highly infectious all year round? Or, if it is happening in summer, winter would be even worse?" Health Secretary York Chow told reporters. "We will have to monitor further."

    The truck driver was admitted to hospital and is critically ill. He visited a wet market where live poultry was sold and ate a chicken before he fell ill, but he is not known to have had any other close contact with poultry.

    He is the 19th person in China to be infected, 12 of whom have died. But, like most of the other cases, it is a mystery how he came to be infected because there was no known outbreak of the disease in poultry in the area where he lived.


    The official Xinhua news agency said on Friday that the government has not found the disease in Shenzhen poultry farms.

    Experts in Hong Kong, including Chow, have highlighted the possibility that the human infections in China may have been due to contact with infected poultry which were not taken ill by the disease, which are described as "asymptomatic".

    A recent study of fecal samples taken from healthy poultry in markets found that one percent were infected with the virus.

    Lo Wing-lok, an infectious disease expert in Hong Kong, said China must explain how the truck driver came to be infected when it claimed there were no H5N1 outbreaks in birds in the area.

    "They ought to come up with a reasonable explanation how this man came to be infected. Blanket denials don't help at all. When they deny we have to think twice about accepting," Lo said.


    He recalled an incident in late January when a chicken that was smuggled into Hong Kong from Shenzhen was found with H5N1.

    "It took only one tiny bird to show that the virus is there (in Shenzhen)," Lo said, adding that China should disclose how it conducts disease surveillance in poultry.

    "I don't know if there is insufficient surveillance or if the data is too frightening to be disclosed," he said.


    http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/PEK203938.htm
    ...when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth. - Sherlock Holmes

  • #2
    Transcript of remarks by Sec of Health, Welfare and Food on avian influenza

    Transcript of remarks by SHWF on avian influenza
    ************************************************
    Following is a transcript of the remarks (English portion) by the Secretary for Health, Welfare and Food, Dr York Chow, at a media session during a public function today (June 16):

    Dr Chow: We are concerned and also worried about this particular case mainly because of three reasons. First of all, the patient has no previous history of close or prolonged contact with poultry; secondly, like the other two cases in Shanghai and Guangzhou, these are patients coming from the city and not from the countryside; and the third reason is most of the outbreaks and avian flu infection in human in the past occurred in winter time, but this time is in hot summer. We have a suspicion, but we have not confirmed it yet, that the virus might have become more virulent and more widespread than we have expected. If that is the case, the risk for human to be infected in future is higher.

    Reporter: But so far it is only in one case.

    Dr Chow: Yes, it is only one case. We need to monitor the situation closely to see if there is continuity of this pattern. With this existing phenomenon, we are also concerned that in coming winter, we may be seeing more cases or more outbreaks particularly among the poultry as well in human.

    Reporter: (On the import ban)

    Dr Chow: Our policy of central slaughtering is already there. I think we face difficulty in choosing the site and also acceptance from the residents of the North District. On the other hand, we also know that every time we make a decision to ban chickens from importing to Hong Kong, it is not just that we are short of good chicken for our housewives, but more, it affects a lot of trades both in Hong Kong and Guangdong. It also affects the economy of China as well. In general, it is always a very difficult decision to make.

    Reporter: (On surveillance in animals in China)

    Dr Chow: China is a big country. Regarding Guangdong alone, we feel that this is one of the best controlled provinces in China, because they pledged that they vaccinate all the poultry. We do not know whether there is a change of immunity of the poultry population or whether there is a resistance in the vaccine. This has to be left to the agriculture authorities in Guangdong to investigate, but we are keeping very close communication with them on the progress.

    Reporter: (On the human case)

    Dr Chow: As I have said earlier, we do not have any firm evidence of what is happening. But we suspect that there might be some changes of immunity status of the poultry.

    (Please also refer to the Chinese portion of the transcript)

    Ends/Friday, June 16, 2006
    Issued at HKT 16:17

    http://www.info.gov.hk/gia/general/2...0606160171.htm
    ...when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth. - Sherlock Holmes

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: New China case suggests H5N1 now more infectious-HK

      There are two single statements from Theresa42's posts, that are very concerning:

      First Post
      New China case suggests H5N1 now more infectious-HK:
      Lo Wing-lok, an infectious disease expert in Hong Kong:
      "I don't know if there is insufficient surveillance or if the data is too frightening to be disclosed.."

      Second Post:
      Transcript of remarks by SHWF on avian influenza:
      Dr York Chow,Secretary for Health, Welfare and Food
      "First of all, the patient has no previous history of close or prolonged contact with poultry; secondly, like the other two cases in Shanghai and Guangzhou, these are patients coming from the city and not from the countryside"

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: New China case suggests H5N1 now more infectious-HK

        Originally posted by hawkeye
        There are two single statements from Theresa42's posts, that are very concerning:

        First Post
        New China case suggests H5N1 now more infectious-HK:
        Lo Wing-lok, an infectious disease expert in Hong Kong:
        "I don't know if there is insufficient surveillance or if the data is too frightening to be disclosed.."

        Second Post:
        Transcript of remarks by SHWF on avian influenza:
        Dr York Chow,Secretary for Health, Welfare and Food
        "First of all, the patient has no previous history of close or prolonged contact with poultry; secondly, like the other two cases in Shanghai and Guangzhou, these are patients coming from the city and not from the countryside"


        Another thing to add to the growing "THIS IS NOT GOOD" file...

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: New China case suggests H5N1 now more infectious-HK
          China's latest human bird flu infection is worrying as it indicates that the H5N1 virus may have mutated and become as infectious in warm months as it is in cooler ones, Hong Kong's health minister said on Friday.

          While this isn't really critical to the discussion I was wondering what type of mutation would be required for the virus to survive in warmer months?

          Comment

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