H7 Avian Influenza In N Korea

From Patricia Doyle, PhD
Hello, Jeff - It is odd that we hear of a strain in N. Korea that could combine with H5N1 and become the dreaded strain to cause a pandemic. If we add to this the fact that Dr. Niman identified in S. Korea WSN/33 human genes developed in the lab in 1933 in regard to Spanish Influenza vaccine, we might have the major pandemic strain which could be a recombined influenza virus, i.e. H5N1, WSN/33 and H7.
Isn't it strange that we learn of the WSN/33 in the same area of the world where H5 and H7 have broken out?
Now, North Korea has asked South Korea for help in battling the H7 Avian Influenza strain. It is too bad that North Korea did not admit sooner that it had Avian Influenza in its country. It is hard to determine, at this point, how widely the virus has spread due to the lack of prompt response.
Patricia Doyle
NK Requests Seoul's Help To Fight Bird Flu
By Reuben Staines
The Korea Times
North Korea on Friday, Apr 8, 2005, thanked South Korea for its offer to help contain an outbreak of bird flu at 3 chicken farms in Pyongyang and requested that Seoul provide equipment and medical supplies, the Unification Ministry said.
South Korea's National Veterinary Research and Quarantine Service received a telephone call from its Northern counterpart, responding 10 days after Seoul first offered assistance.
"North Korea expressed appreciation and said it hoped the South will provide the necessary equipment and medicine," the ministry said in a media release.
It said the ministry will discuss the request with other government departments and agencies before responding.
South Korea offered to provide assistance to the North through a telephone communication at the border village of Panmunjom on 29 Mar 2005.
But the North appeared to ignore the offer, instead working with U.N. agency officials to tackle the virus.
The Unification Ministry also said the North had conducted 2 genetic tests to confirm the outbreak was of the H7 strain, not the H5N1 virus that has claimed more than 50 lives in Southeast Asia since late 2003.
Pyongyang officials believed the virus was spread by migratory birds, it said.
The Food and Agriculture Organization earlier confirmed that no new cases of bird flu have been reported in North Korea since authorities culled about 210 000 chickens late last month [March 2005]. No human infection has been detected.
However, experts have raised concerns that H7-infected birds could come in contact with H5N1 and create a lethal, fast-spreading hybrid.
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Patricia A. Doyle, PhD
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