China tries to close the door on a possible H2H while Pakistan opens the door to human bird flu cases on the Indian sub-continent. First China. Two recent cases, a fatal case of a 24 year old male followed after a period of some days by the infection of his father raised the issue whether the son passed the H5N1 infection to the father. No one wants this to be the case and the Chinese, who are hosting the summer Olympics in Beijing have a lot at stake. The spin on this, though, is incomprehensible:
China’s health authorities said here on Monday that no human-to-human transmission had been confirmed in the two human cases of bird flu and the means of transmission in these cases, involving two family members in the Nanjing area, remained unknown.
“The virus in the first case originated with poultry and has not mutated. It has no biological features for human-to-human transmission,” Mao Qun’an, spokesman of the Ministry of Health, said, citing laboratory results.
But Mao said there were several possibilities for transmission in the second human case, which involved the father of the man in first case.
“Neither of the three possibilities has been confirmed and in-depth investigation is still being conducted,” Mao said. (CXinhua News Agency)
Chinese authorities have said there was no contact with sick poultry in either case or any reported poultry outbreaks anywhere in the vicinity. The claim is being made that some kind of analysis (sequence?) of the son’s virus showed it was from poultry. Except they don’t know any poultry source and in fact we don’t know what makes the virus transmissible (or not). But if they can tell from looking at the virus, than why is the father’s case still under investigation? Why not just look at the virus? If they can tell the son got it from poultry, presumably they can tell if the father did, too. Spin.
Now, Pakistan. There have been infected poultry on the Indian subcontinent but never reported human cases. Now Pakison is not only reporting two cases and they are yet another family cluster (there have been almost three dozen so far):
For the first time in the history of Pakistan, Bird Flu influenza has been confirmed among human beings after two brothers died at a local hospital in Peshawar.
According to spokesman of Health Ministry, two brothers Muhammad Ilyas and Tariq working in a poultry farm in Mansera suffered flu, few days back that later turned to be critical in the form of Bird Flu influenza (H5N1).
Both brothers worked on a chicken farm in Mansera, so it is more than conceivable they both both got it form a common poultry source, although it has not been reported there was any H5N1 outbreak on the farm. The news report says the diagnosis was on the basis of blood samples sent for “formal testing in Laboratory” but we aren’t aware of any confirmation of the diagnosis from a laboratory with expertise in this area. Maybe it will come.
It’s flu season again and avian influenza is influenza. Expect to see more cases in poultry, humans and who knows what else. That’s the expected part. The unexpected part is the thing that worries everyone. The unexpected part we are all expecting, that is. If you know what I mean.