WHO [World Health Organization] is now saying that human to human (H2H) transmission has not been ruled out in China or Pakistan:
The World Health Organization said Friday it was impossible to say whether a case of bird flu in China involving a 52- year-old man was due to human-to-human transmission – but, even if it was, it was down to very close contact between the victims.
The Assistant Director-General for Health Security at WHO, Dr David Heymann, said the only proven transmission of this nature so far, in Indonesia and Thailand, had been as a result of very ‘close contact’ in a ‘very circumscribed area.’ (via Monsters and Critics)
The World Health Organisation (WHO) suspects there has been only limited human-to-human transmission of the H5N1 virus in Pakistan, but international test results are pending, an official said on Friday.
David Heymann, WHO assistant director-general for health security and environment, said no new suspect human bird flu cases had emerged in Pakistan since Dec. 6, signalling there had been no further spread.
“The team feels that this could be an instance of close contact human-to-human transmission in a very circumscribed area and non-sustained, just like happened in Indonesia and Thailand,” Heymann told a news briefing in Geneva. (Reuters)
This is the new line. Yes, sometimes there is human to human transmission. But it requires very close contact. Casual contact isn’t enough. Sounds reasonable. But here’s my problem. In a lot of cases there is no history at all of contact with sick poultry. Maybe theses cases came in contact with a virus shedding bird somewhere but was it similarly close contact? Or is casual contact with birds capable of transmitting infection but not from another person? Even more to the point, lots of people have close contact with sick poultry and they don’t get infected. Only some people get infected. We don’t know why that is, but it would seem more sensible to ask the same question about the rare human to human transmission. Why these people and not others? Instead of asking that question, they are falling back on the “close and heavy exposure” explanation.
I guess they don’t want to alarm us. Or something.