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this from http://www.mumbaimirror.com/nmirror/...54200621531762


Top bird flu scientist says H5N1 is the worst virus ever
Singapore: One of the world’s leading experts on bird flu said on Thursday the H5N1 virus is like nothing he’s ever seen, and “God help us” if it starts spreading among humans.

“I’ve worked with flu all my life, and this is the worst influenza virus that I have ever seen,” said Robert G Webster, a virologist.

“We have to realise that this influenza virus in poultry becomes systemic, goes to the brain and causes, essentially, respiratory Ebola. If that happens in humans, God help us.’’

Webster predicted it would take at least 10 mutations before the H5N1 virus could transmit from human to human. But he said there’s no way to know how long — or if — that would happen.

“All of those mutations are out there, but ... the virus hasn’t succeeded in bringing it together,’’ he said at the end of a two-day bird flu conference in Singapore organised by The Lancet medical journal.
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Old 05-05-2006, 10:55 AM curdledvomit is offline  
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this from http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/L18268479.htm



Russia finds H5N1 bird flu in Siberia poultry

18 May 2006 12:54:17 GMT
Source: Reuters
MOSCOW, May 18 (Reuters) - Russia has found the H5N1 bird flu virus in six dead chickens in Siberia, where more than 80 dead birds have been found since the end of April, a regional health official said on Thursday.



The highly pathogenic H5N1 strain was identified in all five dead chickens from Omsk region that were inspected by the Novosibirsk virology and biotechnology centre Vektor, said Ilya Drozdov, the centre's general director.



It was also found in a dead chicken from the village of Reshety in Novosibirsk region, he told Reuters.



But tests on a crow and a rook from the same village found no trace of the virus.



Interfax news agency quoted a local health official on Thursday as saying the virus that killed birds in the two Siberian regions last month and early this month did not differ significantly from the outbreak in the region last year.



On Tuesday, Interfax reported 86 dead chickens found in the village of Maksimovka in the Omsk region between April 29 and May 13 were infected with bird flu.



Drozdov did not confirm whether or not any of the other birds had the H5N1 strain.



Russia's latest outbreak of the H5N1 strain of bird flu started in early February and has hit domestic and wild fowl in several regions of the North Caucasus area that borders Georgia and Azerbaijan.



Bird flu has killed 115 people worldwide. Five people have died in Azerbaijan, but no human deaths have been recorded in Russia.



The virus mainly affects birds and most human cases can be traced to direct or indirect contact with infected birds. But experts fear it could change into a form easily transmitted from person to person.



AlertNet news is provided by
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Old 05-18-2006, 11:11 AM curdledvomit is offline  
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Vienge.
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is it airborne yet?
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Old 05-18-2006, 11:24 AM Vienge. is offline  
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how'd that made-for-tv movie end? i never saw it
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Old 05-18-2006, 11:26 AM kevets is offline  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JoJoFine
is it airborne yet?

this from http://www.cidrap.umn.edu/cidrap/con...indonesia.html


CDC, WHO experts visit Indonesia to inspect H5N1 cluster


May 18, 2006 (CIDRAP News) – An international team of scientists from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) arrived today on Indonesia's Sumatra island to investigate the largest cluster to date of confirmed human cases of H5N1 avian influenza, according to news services.

In addition, the WHO reported today that a 75-year-old Egyptian woman died of H5N1 infection, becoming the sixth fatality in Egypt.

In a news release about the Indonesian cluster today, the WHO said the source of infection was not yet known for any of the cases. "The possibility of limited human-to-human transmission cannot be ruled out," the agency said.

"A cluster is always serious," the WHO's Thomas Grein told Bloomberg news today after visiting North Sumatra. "This one by its sheer size and that it has occurred in an area where there have been no confirmed outbreaks is of course of interest."

In its statement today, the WHO gave some details on the cases in six extended family members from Kubu Sembelang village in the Karo district of North Sumatra—five of whom died—as well as on another Indonesian woman who died of avian flu in Surabaya in East Java. Her death was reported by news media yesterday.

In North Sumatra, the outbreak may have begun Apr 27 when a 37-year-old woman contracted a respiratory disease, which took her life May 4. However, no specimens were obtained from her body for confirmatory testing, but the WHO said she is considered the initial case in the cluster.

Her relatives, according to the WHO, constitute the six who tested positive for H5N1. The woman's 15-year-old son died of avian flu May 9, her 17-year-old son died May 12, her 10-year-old nephew died May 13, and her 28-year-old sister died May 10. The sister's 18-month-old daughter died May 14. In addition, her 25-year-old brother tested positive for H5N1 but is still alive.

These latest WHO confirmations raise Indonesia's case total to 40 (23 in 2006), with 31 deaths (20 in 2006), according to WHO data. Indonesia has reported by far the most cases and fatalities this year. Egypt has the second-most cases with 14 (6 deaths), and China has the second-highest death rate, with 7 deaths in 10 cases.

Although the WHO release about the cluster states that "If human-to-human transmission has occurred, it has not been either efficient or sustained," officials are concerned about the lack of an identified source for the virus.

"The source of exposure for the initial case is still under investigation, with exposure to infected poultry or an environment contaminated by their faeces considered the most plausible source," the agency said.

"The likely source of infection for the additional cases has not yet been determined," the statement continued. "Multiple hypotheses are being investigated. Apart from living in close proximity to each other, the cases in this cluster are known to have participated in a family gathering around 29 April. The cases may have acquired their infection from a shared environmental exposure yet to be identified."

"We have not yet found any evidence of the ongoing transmission among chickens in that area," said Shigeru Omi, WHO director for the Western Pacific region, as quoted in the Bloomberg story today. However, the story quoted Indonesia's agriculture minister as saying that 10 of 11 pigs tested in the district had antibodies to avian flu in their bloodstream, and about half of the 400 households in Kubu Sembelang raise pigs, chickens, and ducks.

Although the presence of antibodies in the pigs could signal a previous infection, "If the virus is in pigs, that would be a major concern," said Ton Schat, professor of virology and immunology at Cornell University, according to Bloomberg. Pigs are susceptible to both human and avian strains of influenza, and simultaneous infection with both types could allow viruses to trade genetic material, potentially giving rise to a hybrid that could spread among humans.

According to the WHO, instances of human-to-human H5N1 transmission have occurred, but in no case has the virus spread beyond people who have had close contact with an infected person, like family members.

In a Washington Post story today, Sari Setiogi, spokesperson for WHO's Indonesia office, said, "We are taking this very seriously. The good news is that, from our investigation to date, there's no evidence of further spread of the virus beyond the family."

Egyptian case

In Egypt, WHO officials confirmed that a 75-year-old woman became Egypt's sixth death among 14 human cases of avian influenza, an AFP article said today.

The woman, from Al-Minya in southern Egypt, contracted the disease from infected birds, according to WHO regional health regulation officer John Jabbour. "She was admitted into the hospital yesterday, and she died today," Jabbour said in the AFP story.

See also:

WHO Indonesia report
http://www.who.int/csr/don/2006_05_18b/en/index.html

WHO Egypt report

http://www.who.int/csr/don/2006_05_18c/en/index.html

Wordwide cumulative human cases (WHO)
http://www.who.int/csr/disease/avian_influenza/country/cases_table_2006_05_18/en/index.html

May 17 CIDRAP News story "WHO confirms avian flu case cluster in Indonesia"
http://www.cidrap.umn.edu/cidrap/content/influenza/avianflu/news/may1706indo.html
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Old 05-19-2006, 06:06 AM curdledvomit is offline  
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fuck hampshire
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Seriously, I don't think there's much to worry about.
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Old 05-19-2006, 06:14 AM fuck hampshire is offline  
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this from http://www.nytimes.com/2006/05/22/wo...rtner=homepage

W.H.O. Chief Dies After Surgery

By JOHN O'NEIL and LAWRENCE K. ALTMAN
Published: May 22, 2006

Dr. Lee Jong Wook, director general of the World Health Organization, died in Geneva this morning after undergoing emergency brain surgery for a blood clot on Saturday, the organization said in a statement.
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Martial Trezzini/Associated Press
Lee Jong-wook, director of the World Health Organisation, looking on during a press conference at the UN headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, in 2005.




He was 61 and had led the health organization since 2003.

Dr. Anderes Nordstrom, currently its assistant director general for general management, will become the organization's temporary leader, the statement said.

The weeklong meeting, called the World Health Assembly, gathers representatives of the 192 member countries of the W. H. O. to approve plans and make other critical decisions about policies and work. Steps to prepare for and respond to any influenza pandemic will be a main topic of the meeting.

Dr. Lee, 61, a South Korean, fell ill at a luncheon on Saturday in Geneva at the beginning of a weeklong meeting called the World Health Assembly. He complained of a severe headache and later vomited, an official who was present said. Paramedics took him to the Cantonal Hospital in Geneva. Surgeons found that he had a blood clot on the brain known as a subdural hematoma and removed it.

Such clots often follow injuries to the head like those from a fall. But the W.H.O. said Dr. Lee had been in good health and was not known to have had any such injury. The clot also could have resulted from a bleeding artery in his brain. The meeting gathers representatives of the 192 member countries of the W. H. O. to approve plans and make other critical decisions about policies and work. Steps to prepare for and respond to any influenza pandemic will be a main topic of the meeting.
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how about a nice hot steaming bowl of STFU!

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Squid posted..."curdledvomit is the first +10k guy i actually care about"

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Old 05-22-2006, 06:25 AM curdledvomit is offline  
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How hypocritcal.
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Old 05-22-2006, 06:27 AM Kray is offline  
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this from http://www.bangkokpost.com/breaking_...s.php?id=98804


WHO downplays human flu spread

Geneva (dpa) - A cluster of seven human bird-flu cases in Indonesia may have been caused by multiple person-to-person transmission, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said Tuesday. But WHO officials said there was no evidence indicating the virus had mutated or that it had spread beyond the relatives.

The apparent infection chain among an extended family in North Sumatra began with a woman who is believed to have passed on the H5N1 to relatives who were with her "in a small room" when she was sick and coughing, a WHO statement said.

The woman's 10-year-old nephew subsequently got bird flu and is considered a possible source of infection for her brother, who was "closely involved in caring for his son," WHO said. The three people are among six family members who have died since May 4.

"All confirmed cases in the cluster can be directly linked to close and prolonged exposure to a patient during a phase of severe illness," a WHO statement said.

Human-to-human transmission "cannot be ruled out," though a possible alternative source of exposure is still being investigated, WHO said.

Indonesia is second only to Vietnam in human cases and deaths in the current outbreak of bird flu. Worldwide, 218 people in 10 countries have been confirmed with bird flu, of which 124 have died, according to WHO.

The disease's spread has raised fears that the virus could mutate to spread easily among humans, threatening a pandemic with millions of infections.

WHO said there is no evidence of "efficient human-to-human transmission" in the cluster of cases in Indonesia's Kubu Sembelang village, a reference to the fact that the infections appear to have happened at close quarters.

But Indonesia's health ministry and WHO are concerned about the cases, and health experts are searching for any cases among other relatives or the wider community, the Geneva-based agency said.

`~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


I think this might be the beginning of the end...
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Old 05-24-2006, 06:08 AM curdledvomit is offline  
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oh boy.... damn mutants
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Old 05-24-2006, 06:54 AM Vigilante is offline  
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lol this thing will NOT mutate.. humans will NOT get it.

Someone post a regular flu thread, 40,000 people die a year from regular influenza
Old 05-24-2006, 07:20 AM AppleBoy is offline  
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this from http://www.forbes.com/entrepreneurs/...ap2777462.html


Associated Press
Update 6: WHO Puts Tamiflu Maker on Bird Flu Alert
By MARGIE MASON , 05.27.2006, 10:20 AM


The World Health Organization put the maker of the global stockpile of the anti-bird flu drug Tamiflu on alert for the first time after human-to-human transmission was suspected in Indonesia, officials said Saturday.

The organization said that a precautionary 9,500 treatment doses, along with protective gear, were flown into Indonesia on Friday, but the shipment was not expected to be followed by further movement of the drug.

"We have no intention of shipping that stockpile," WHO spokesman Dick Thompson said.

An Indonesian health official, meanwhile, said tests had confirmed five more cases of bird flu, three of them fatal.

One of those cases was of a 32-year-old man who on Monday became the last fatality in a human cluster in Kubu Simbelang, a village of about 1,500 people in North Sumatra.

No health workers could be seen Saturday in the village, where dozens of chickens and geese ran among houses and through backyards framed by high mountains and surrounded by rich fields of chilis, oranges and limes.

The family infected by the virus lived in three houses near the church in the Christian village.

The WHO in Jakarta received word from the Indonesian Health Ministry about the cluster on Monday. The Geneva-based organization put Swiss drug maker Roche Holding AG on alert hours later, said Jules Pieters, director of WHO's rapid response and containment group.

Roche spokesman Baschi Duerr said the stockpile, which consists of 3 million treatment courses kept in Europe and the United States, is ready to be shipped at any time to any place.

"We are in very close contact with WHO, even today, and our readiness is geared to be able to deliver," Duerr said. "We are ready to fly it wherever and whenever it's needed."

Pieters stressed the alert was part of standard operating procedure when WHO has "reasonable doubt" about a situation that could involve human-to-human transmission. He said Roche would remain on alert for approximately the next two weeks, or twice the incubation period of the last reported case.

"We were quite keen to inform Roche quite timely," Pieters said. "We knew Thursday would be a holiday in Europe and wanted to make sure Roche warehouses would be open."

On Saturday, Nyoman Kandun, a director general at Indonesia's health ministry, said a WHO laboratory in Hong Kong has confirmed five more cases of human bird flu, three of which were fatal.

All five had earlier tested positive for the H5N1 virus in a local laboratory. Bird flu has now infected 48 people in Indonesia, and 36 of them have died.

Indonesia's number of human bird flu cases has jumped rapidly this year, but public awareness of the disease remains low and government commitment has not equaled that of other countries. Indonesia's reaction has raised concerns it is moving slowly and ineffectively in containing the disease.

Vietnam, the country hardest-hit by bird flu, has been hailed for controlling the virus through strong political will and mass poultry vaccination campaigns. No human cases have been reported there since November.

Indonesia, a sprawling nation of 17,000 islands, has refused to carry out mass slaughters of poultry in all infected areas - one of the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization's most basic containment guidelines - saying it cannot afford to compensate farmers. And bio-security measures are virtually nonexistent in the densely populated countryside, home to hundreds of millions of backyard chickens.

Bird flu has killed 124 people worldwide since the virus began ravaging Asian poultry stocks in late 2003.

The latest confirmed deaths were a 39-year-old man from Jakarta, a 10-year-old girl from West Java and the 32-year-old man in the North Sumatra cluster.

He was among six members of an extended Indonesian family who caught bird flu and died. Another family member who died was buried before tests could be done, but she was considered to be among those infected with bird flu.

Health experts have been unable to link the family members to infected birds, leading them to believe the virus may have passed among them. None of the poultry in the village have tested positive for the virus.

But health officials have struggled to gather information or take blood samples from villagers, many of whom believe black magic is responsible for their neighbors' deaths.

The WHO has stressed the virus has not mutated into a version easily passed between people, which would trigger a potential deadly pandemic, or shown any sign of spreading outside the family - all blood relatives who had very close contact with each other.

So far, the virus remains hard for people to catch and most human cases have been linked to contact with infected birds.

The organization has said that limited human-to-human transmission is believed to have occurred in about four previous clusters. It was not immediately clear why WHO had not ordered previous alerts for the global stockpile.

But the most recent and largest human cluster comes after the organization developed important new protocols for mobilizing reserves of the drug.



Associated Press reporters Zakki Hakim in Jakarta and Sam Cage in Geneva contributed to this report.
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Old 05-27-2006, 10:58 AM curdledvomit is offline  
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Where is the damn pandemic already, this is getting boring.
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Old 05-27-2006, 10:59 AM dastrike is offline  
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curdledvomit
 
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this from http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/heal...p?newsid=44244


Six More Human Bird Flu Cases In Indonesia, Three Fatal

Main Category: Bird Flu / Avian Flu News
Article Date: 30 May 2006 - 7:00am (PDT)

According to the World Health Organization, six more humans have become infected with the H5N1 bird flu virus strain in Indonesia, of which three have died. 21% of all confirmed human cases of bird flu infection so far have happened in Indonesia - 48 out of 224.

Indonesian authorities can confirm that four of these six cases had been exposed to sick chickens and pigeon droppings. Reports on the sources for other two are still pending. Authorities added that it is highly unlikely any of these six infected humans caught bird flu from another human - all but two of them are from different parts of the country. Two of them, a brother and sister, both got ill at the same time - an indication that one did not infect the other. The brother and sister have died.

There is absolutely no connection between these six human infections and the cluster of seven family members from Kubu Sembelang. There may have been human-to-human transmission among this cluster of seven family members as they shared a small room. H5N1 can transmit from human-to-human if there is continuous, close physical contact.

Laboratory tests indicate there is no evidence that H5N1 has mutated.

After being criticised for their lack of urgency, Indonesian authorities have announced a series of measures aimed at combating the spread of animal and human infection. People who refuse to undergo tests will now face a prison sentence, as will those who refuse to allow their animals to be tested.

Scientists fear that when the H5N1 bird flu virus strain mutates, it will acquire the ability to become human transmissible. The most likely way it may do this is to infect a person who already has the normal human flu. The H5N1 would have the opportunity to exchange genetic information with the human flu virus and pick up its ability to jump from human-to-human. If this happens we could be facing a flu pandemic. How serious a flu pandemic may be for global human health will depend on how virulent the mutated virus is.

H5N1 needs to get embedded deep down into the human lung to make a person sick. This is one of the reasons humans do not catch bird flu easily, even from birds. A sick person cannot easily infect another human because his/her coughs and sneezes expel tiny quantities of the virus - as it is so deep down in the lung. A mutated virus that acquires the ability to become human transmissible most likely will start to infect the upper respiratory tract. If it did this humans would catch it and become ill much more easily, and sick people would expel a larger quantity of virus after each cough and sneeze. Fortunately, upper-respiratory tract infections are easier to treat than lower-respiratory tract infections. If this theory happens, it could mean that a human flu pandemic would occur with a less virulent virus than the present H5N1.

In other words: Currently, H5N1 only infects humans deep down in the lung. That is why it has a high death rate. That is also why humans cannot catch it easily. That is also why humans cannot pass it on easily.

(Bird flu = Avian flu)
(Flu = Influenza)
(Virulent = Potent, powerful. In this text it also means deadly.)
(Human transmissible = A disease that can easily be passed from human-to-human.)

Written by: Christian Nordqvist
Editor: Medical News Today
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Old 05-30-2006, 08:25 AM curdledvomit is offline  
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this from http://www.recombinomics.com/News/06...Mutations.html


Commentary

Significant Mutations in H5N1 Bird Flu In North Sumatra

Recombinomics Commentary
June 7, 2006

Full genetic sequencing of two viruses isolated from cases in this cluster has been completed by WHO H5 reference laboratories in Hong Kong and the USA. Sequencing of all eight gene segments found no evidence of genetic reassortment with human or pig influenza viruses and no evidence of significant mutations. The viruses showed no mutations associated with resistance to the neuraminidase inhibitors, including oseltamivir (Tamiflu).

The human viruses from this cluster are genetically similar to viruses isolated from poultry in North Sumatra during a previous outbreak.

The above description of the H5N1 bird flu isolated from patients in the north Sumatra has raised more questions that it has answered. The unanswered questions have led to a good deal of confusion because the cluster is the largest and most deadly recorded for Indonesia, yet the WHO description suggests that there have been no genetic changes that are "significant". The lack of "significant" mutations has also raised questions about the increased level of H5N1 in the patient's nose and throat, which is a property associated with more efficient transmission.

WHO and consultants take a very narrow and dogmatic view of influenza evolution. This view holds that the genes change gradually via random mutation. The gradual change is called genetic drift. Alternatively, since the genetic information of influenza is on eight gene segments the genetic composition can change by swapping entire genes resulting in genetic shifts. This concern is focused on one or more avian genes being replaced with a human or swine mammalian gene

Therefore, the changes considered significant are such a swap in genes called reassortment, or random mutations that change the receptor binding domain, specifically, Q226L and G228S. These two changes allow the virus to more efficiently bind to receptors in the upper respiratory tract of humans.

Therefore, the characterization published by WHO simply indicates that all eight genes from H5N1 are avian, and that position 226 in the HA sequences still has the avian amino acid, Q, and position 228 still has the avian amino acid G. Neither position has change to the amino acid that would increase affinity for human receptors in the upper respiratory tract.

The above descript also indicates that the NA of the isolates have also remained wild type and are therefore sensitive to neuraminidase inhibitors, such as Tamiflu.

However, the report says nothing about other changes which some, including WHO in the past, place in the "significant category.

One change that could account for the higher levels in the nose and throat as well as increased transmission is the PB2 polymorphism E627K. as discussed by Declan Butler in his Nature news story and his blog. E627K is found in all human isolates and allows the H5N1 to grow more efficiently at lower temperatures, 33 C. Since the body temperature of birds is 41 C and of humans is 37C, the lower temperature is closer to human body temperature and even close to the temperature in the nose and throat, especially in the winter, which could explain the seasonality of seasonal flu in the areas away fro the equator.

E627K is also associated with increased virulence in mammals and was first identified in H5N1 in some patients in 1997 in Hong Kong. It was also found in patients in Vietnam and Thailand In 2004 and 2005. Almost all patient infected with H5N1 with E627K died. Similarly, wild and domestic cats and a domestic dog were also fatally infected with H5N1 with PB2 E627K.

The PB2 E627K had only been found in H5N1 from mammals prior to the Qinghai Lake outbreak. It become fixed in the Qinghai strain and WHO commented on the presence of PB2 E627K. However, WHO failed to indicate that the second human isolate from Indonesia had E627K when it described the isolate in its WHO update. That case was also fatal and had the wild type cleavages site, as did all of the above human and animal infections. The realtionship between the first human isolated from Indonesia, A/Indonesia/5/2005 and the second isolate, A/Indonesia/6/2005, can be seen in the phylogenetic tree released by the Chinese Minister of Health.

The increased levels in the nose and throat in patients in north Sumatra may signal the presence of E627K. The H5N1 was easily transmitted to family members and 7 of the 8 infected family members died. This mechanism of transmission may have contributed to teh large cluster in Turkey as described by Don McNeil in the New York Times. The index case has H5N1 with an altered receptor binding domain, S227N, in addition to E627K.

Similarly, the WHO update failed to indicate that the cleavage site was the wild type, RERRRKKR, associated with the high fatality rate when E627K was present. Thus, this combination could account for the increased transmission since the cleavage site determines which proteases can cleave HA, which generates tissue tropism.

Thus, WHO's comments that there were no significant mutations did not address two areas that outs would have considered significant. This selective release of information is also applied to sensitivity to anti-virals. When isolates from Vietnam and Thailand were found to be amantadine resistant, the resistance was reported. The lack of this resistance was noted in the description of the first human H5N1 isolate from Indonesia. However, the description of the isolates in north Sumatra failed to indicate that they were amantadine resistant. Only the neuraminidase sensitivity was mentioned.

Thus, the WHO update on "significant" mutations was very narrow. The update did not disclose information on the HA cleavage site, amantadine, resistance, or E627K. This withholding of information is yet another reason for immediate release of the sequences sequestered in the private WHO database.

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