- The detection of bird flu in a dead seagull in northern
Finland provides additional evidence for a worldwide spread of H5N1, setting
the stage for a major pandmeic. Although H5N1 wild bird flu has yet to
be confirmed, the official statement that the bird flu is not H5N1 has
been the common initial official comment on H5N1 when it is reported for
the first time. At Qinghai Lake the H5N1 was initial said to not be bird
flu. In Russia and Kazahkstan, H5N1 was said to be H5N2. In Mongolia,
after H5N1 had been confirmed at Qinghai Lake, Chany Lake and Kazakhstan,
the H5 result was still interpreted as an indication that H5N1 was not
H5N1. Thus, the statement that H5N1 was possible but not likely, was a
clear statement that the bird flu was almost certainly H5N1. Not mentioned
in most of the media reports was the fact that indeed, 50 dead gulls had
been found in Oulo.
- H5N1 in northern Finland is not a surprise, Birds from
northern Siberia migrate to warmer locations in Europe. and these bird
fly over Finland. This is right time of migration from northern Siberia
and infections in Russia strongly suggest the birds in northern Siberia
are H5N1 positive.
- Birds in northern Siberia also migrate to Alaska, and
birds from Alaska spread out across North and South America. Thus, H5N1
in northern Siberia can widely disperse H5N1. H5N1 can replicate easily
in a wide variety of tissues and has gained significant evolutionary advantage.
Consequently, it is being established in a number of regions, and this
increased gene pool will increase the chance of recombination and acquisition
of the mammalian receptor binding domain,
- The receptor binding domain can be acquired from mammalian
sub-strains, but can also be collect from the mammalian sequences in birds.
Thus, an expanded host range offers many unique opportunities for recombination.
- As H5N1 becomes endemic to more areas, its gene pool
enlarges, facilitating productive recombinations. The prior acquisitions
of mammalian polymorphims increase the frequency of more recombinations..
- Recombinations in birds would be cause for concern, because
an efficient transmitted H5N1 could spread among birds, and then infected
many people in many locations. These simultaneous outbreaks would limit
an effective containment strategy, that depends on treatment within one
to two weeks of symptoms
- Thus, H5N1 is poised to go global and increase its geographical
- Establishment in local birds would create an endemic
reservoir, which could be lethal for years to come.
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