- Seis de Mayo in Manila: Second Flu Pandemic
May Have Begun
May 5, 2005
- On Thursday 5 May, WHO officials attended a meeting in
Manila in the Philippines with government health representatives from
Cambodia and Laos, to address the current flu situation.
- It sounds like H5N1 was discussed on Cinco de Mayo in
Manila, but WHO will get the bad news on Seis de Mayo. They should hear
that WSN/33 in dead Korean pigs is quite real, and flu has opened a second
- Today's New
England Journal of Medicine commentary indicated the world was
for a flu pandemic, and the outcome could rival 1918. WHO has acknowledged
that the H5N1 bird flu pandemic of 2005 may have begun. The WSN/33 news
WHO receives on Friday should ring more alarm bells.
- This should be a wake-up call, but reaction will likely
come when it is too late, which is now. - Henry Niman, PhD
- WHO - Flu Pandemic May Have
By Dr. Henry L. Niman, PhD
May 5, 2005
- In Asia, there are hints that the virus is indeed
"Incomplete evidence suggests that there may be a shift in the
of the disease," says Stöhr. "More clusters are being seen
than last year, older people are now coming down with the diseases, and
more cases are milder." Taken together, these characteristics could
indicate that the virus is becoming less virulent and more infectious,
he says, which could signal the start of a pandemic.
- Klaus Stohr's comments above are the first
by WHO that the 2005 flu pandemic may have begun. The clearest signal
was the simultaneous admission of a family of five in Haiphong on March
22. All five were confirmed to be H5N1 positive and all five recovered.
Earlier signals were the transmission from patients to nurse(s) in Thai
Binh and the 195 commune members in Quang Binh with flu symptoms. Although
samples were collected from over 30 individuals, the results have yet to
be released. The same is true for the neighbors of the Haiphong family
and the patients at Vietnam Sweden hospital in Thai Ninh.
- 1000 samples were collected, and those results were not
announced either, but the shipment of samples to CDC for analysis was a
very big red flag and these changes correlated with an amino acid loss,
presumably in the HA cleavage site, are a clear signal that the H5N1 in
northern Vietnam was a recombinant.
- The virus clearly has all of its ducks in a row, and
humans are simply sitting ducks, unaware or unconcerned about the looming
mayhem in the fall.
- Media link
- Broadened Host Range And Efficient
Human Transmission Of Evolved H5N1
By Dr. Henry L. Niman, PhD
April 30, 2005
- There is a steadily increasing number of clusters of
disease, where it appears to have spread between people. There are now
at least seven of these, almost all in the northern province of Haiphong.
WHO officials say this is unprecedented.
- Finally, the virus itself seems to have changed
Vietnamese health experts say that it has evolved in the north of the
by dropping an amino acid.
- The US government's Centers for Disease Control and
which has analysed many of specimens of the virus from Vietnam, adds that
new strains of it "are becoming more capable of causing disease for
- The comments above suggest that the northern H5N1 not
only has been associated with a lower case fatality rate in larger
but the dropped amino acid is also associated with a broader host
- The confirmation of H5N1 in the family of five in
signaled the start of the flu pandemic. All five family members were
on the same day and all recovered relatively quickly. The recovery in
a week or two is similar to a bad case of human flu, suggesting there may
be many more unreported cases. The above comments suggest there have been
seven clusters in Haiphong alone. The neighbors of the family of five
had been admitted to the hospital a few days after the family of five.
Although test results were not reported, the above comments suggest these
neighbors may represent another cluster in Haiphong.
- On April 15, northern Vietnam had sent the CDC a large
number of the 1000 samples they had collected from people and animals.
The above comments may indicate earlier results, since the clusters in
northern Vietnam have been reported since the beginning of the year.
there were also comments about the genetic composition of H5N1 changing,
and recently the lost amino acid was acknowledged. The lost amino acid
sounds like isolates from China in 2003, which have also lost an amino
acid in the polybasic region of HA. It sounds like the new isolates from
northern Vietnam are recombinants. The recombined genes are more efficient
at infecting mammals, including humans, but this recombination resulted
in a reduced case fatality rate.
- These changes have striking parallels with the 1918
which began as a mild infection in the sping of 1918 and evolved into an
efficient killer in the fall. The current information coming out of
Vietnam suggests a similar sequence of events may be happening in 2005,
and the flu pandemic has begun as indicated. Moreover, the finding of
WSN/33 in swine in Korea suggests the pandemic in 2005 may be beginning
on two fronts, with avian viruses becoming more human-like in Vietnam and
human viruses becoming more avian-like in Korea. Unfortunately, both sets
of viruses can infect birds which could create more mixing and matching
of genetic information. This genetic instability could frustrate vaccine
efforts based on the last 2004 isolates form Vietnam.
- These problems may make the pandemic of 2005 strikingly
similar to the pandemic of 1918.
- Patricia A. Doyle, PhD
- Please visit my "Emerging Diseases" message
- Zhan le Devlesa tai sastimasa
- Go with God and in Good Health