US Peregrine H5N1 Avian Flu
Claim On Talk Show False

Patricia Doyle, PhD
Note - We received the following email exchanges between Dr. Patricia Doyle, PhD and Hugh Montgomery, Executive Director of IDHS (Institute for Defense and Homeland Security). Many listeners - especially those in the poultry industry - were deeply concerned by the H5N1 report. We are most grateful to Dr. Patricia Doyle for researching the allegation and reveailng the claim to be without merit as presented. -ed
From: Patricia Doyle, PhD
Sent: Tue 1/25/2005 3:18 PM
To: Hugh Montgomery
Subject: re Falcon Suspected of having HPAI A H5N1
Respectfully, Mr. Montgomery: I have become aware of the alleged case of a peregrine falcon suspected to be HPAI type A H5N1 positive and found in the US.
Can you give me some further details about the falcon?
Has the falcon been confirmed positive for the virus and what tests have been completed. Has Plum Island been doing the testing? What other labs are involved?
Do we have any information on the falcon, i.e. place of origin?
The very first case of HPAI A H5N1 in Hong Kong was a Peregrine Falcon. When I heard about a Peregrine Falcon found in the US and suspected of having HPAI A H5N1 I assumed the case was confused with the Hong Kong case dating back to January 2004.
Please advise with any details that you have at this time.
Patricia Doyle
Patricia A. Doyle, PhD
From: Hugh Montgomery
To: Patricia Doyle, PhD
CC: Leslie Williams
Subject: RE: Falcon Suspected of having HPAI A H5N1
Date: Tue, 25 Jan 2005
Apologize for brevity, but away from office and reading remotely. Unaware of falcon confirmed positive in the US. Confusion with January 2004 case? If you hear differently, would appreciate your letting us know.
Hugh Montgomery
-----Original Message-----
From: Patricia Doyle, PhD
Sent: Wednesday, January 26, 2005 5:46 PM
To: Hugh Montgomery
Subject: RE: re Falcon Suspected of having HPAI A H5N1
Thank you for your response. I heard Dr. Joseph Resnick on a late night national talkradio show Sunday night-Monday morning stating that the US found H5N1 bird flu in a dead Peregrine Falcon in the eastern US. Resnick specified the dreaded Asian bird flu type A H5N1. He referred to an email from you as his source for the statment.
I have sent out tons of emails to colleagues in the Poultry industry, Plum Island and othe wildlife labs, USGS, FWS, wildlife pathologists, and of course, to collegaues at Promed. Everyone replied with the same response, "no case of A H5N1 in a peregrine falcon in the US."
Needless to say, we are all very interested in knowing about a case of H5N1. Keeping the lid on such an event would put the poultry industry at risk, as well as wildlife and human lives. If we know about a disease we can prepare and give it our best fight. We also avoid panic.
I believe that Dr. Resnick might have confused the case of a peregrine falcon found in Hong Kong on Jan. 26, 2004 confirmed to have H5N1. At that time, authorities could not figure out how the Peregrine falcon became infected with H5N1.
I don't believe that Dr. Resnick's background is medical or wildlife epidemiology and I assume that he might also be confusing confirmed avian influenza cases in the US. The cases, thus far, that are confirmed in the US have not been H5N1. It is quite possible that he does not understand the different strains of Avian Influenza or the importance in differentiating between them.
In any event, please do keep me updated as to any US cases, and I will keep you updated when I receive information on any.
Patricia Doyle
From: Hugh Montgomery
To: Patricia Doyle, PhD
Subject: RE: re Falcon Suspected of having HPAI A H5N1
Date: Wed, 26 Jan 2005
Dr. Doyle,
Much appreciate your response. I met Dr. Resnick once, when he visited my office on January 6th. I can find no record of, nor do I recall sending an e-mail to him. It is possible that the Asian Peregrine Falcon case came up in the discussion as an example of potential animal transmission of disease. If so, the discussion must have been misunderstood, and then taken well out of context. I am aware of no H5N1 cases in the US.
FYI, funding is appropriated in the 2005 DOD budget for IDHS' Environmental Bioterrorism Detection Program to begin the process of linking the national wildlife hospitals into the DOD Epidemic Outbreak Surveillance network as a first line of defense.
Many thanks,
Hugh Montgomery
Here is the article of the January 26, 2004 Hong Kong Case of Peregrine Falcon Found Infected with H5N1. The article was posted on my message board. It is my theory that the person who first broke information about a US case of an infected Peregrine Falcon might have been confused with the Peregrine Falcon case found in Hong Kong. - Patricia Doyle
Dead Falcon In Hong Kong Found To Be Infected With Bird Flu
By Keith Bradsher
NY Times
January 22, 2004
HONG KONG, Jan. 21 -- A dead peregrine falcon found near two chicken farms here was infected with the avian influenza virus, agricultural officials here said Wednesday. The dead falcon was the first sign that the disease, which is spreading in chicken flocks in Vietnam, South Korea and Japan, may also be present in China.
Hong Kong officials said they would respond by stepping up the monitoring of chicken farms for the disease, with inspections continuing through the Chinese New Year holidays beginning on Thursday.
World Health Organization officials have been alarmed about the spread of the influenza virus, the A(H5N1) strain of bird flu. They have described the scale of its spread as "unprecedented" and warned that the disease could evolve to spread from person to person, and not just from birds to people.
Thailand and Laos have also reported large scale deaths of chickens in the last several days. While both have insisted that the problem is bird cholera, Thai officials said Wednesday that they were testing three people for possible bird flu.
The W.H.O. has confirmed five cases in people in Vietnam, all of whom apparently contracted the disease from chickens and all of whom have died.
Testing of wild birds began last March in Hong Kong after two residents became infected with the virus and one died. Agricultural officials have collected more than 6,000 samples from wild birds since then and found no infections until the falcon.
An agricultural worker found the falcon's body on Monday less than seven miles from the border between Hong Kong, a special autonomous region of China, and Shenzhen, an adjacent Chinese city. But Lai Ching-wai, Hong Kong's assistant director for agricultural inspection and quarantine, said experts could not guess where the bird had become infected.
A dozen peregrine falcons live in Hong Kong year-round, typically foraging within a 15-mile radius of their favorite roosts. But another 30 to 40 falcons winter here after migrating from breeding grounds as far away as Siberia. Agricultural officials here have not been able to determine whether the dead bird was migratory or resident.
Mr. Lai said that the migratory falcons do not travel to South Korea or Japan, which have been slaughtering chickens in response to outbreaks of bird flu there. China, Mongolia and Russia " along potential flight paths to Siberia " have not acknowledged having any cases of bird flu.
Roy Wadia, a spokesman in Beijing for the World Health Organization, said that the agency had asked the Ministry of Health there a few days ago about the disease in China but had not received a reply.
The Chinese Agriculture Ministry announced Monday that it was requiring local officials to report daily whether they had detected any cases of bird flu. China has also banned poultry imports from countries where flu infections have been found.
Pathologists are conducting tests to determine whether the falcon here died of the virus or some other cause. While bird flu is lethal to domesticated fowl and has an estimated 30 percent mortality rate in people, wild fowl appear to be less affected and sometimes can spread the disease until they die of other causes.
Hong Kong has had a half dozen outbreaks of flu in local birds since 1997, when 18 people were infected and six of them died. The recurrence of the disease here has fanned suspicions that it is present in southern China, although Chinese officials have denied that.



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