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Two new human cases of bird flu emerged Wednesday in Vietnam, both elderly relatives of others hit by the virus, a worrisome cluster of cases that's raising concern the H5N1 virus is becoming more adept at spreading from human to human.
One of the new cases involves an 81-year-old man with two infected grandchildren -- one of whom may also have infected a nurse who cared for him.
The fact both new cases showed no signs they were infected add to concerns the true number of human cases of avian influenza could be far higher than officially reported.
"It's certain there are cases we're missing, and probably a significant number," Dr. Peter Horby, a medical epidemiologist with the World Health Organization in Hanoi, told CanWest News in a recent interview.
September, 2004: Re: Bird flu
"It seems this virus (H5N1 bird flu) is quite versatile - it appears in pigs, cats and other animals, so it can appear in places that were never thought about before." Omi said. "This virus is very infectious," he added. (Shigeru Omi, WHO regional director for the Western Pacific)
Fearful expert tells of bird flu in pigs
We report the first case of avian influenza in a patient with fever and diarrhea but no respiratory symptoms. Avian influenza should be included in the differential diagnosis for patients with predominantly gastrointestinal symptoms, particularly if they have a history of exposure to poultry.
Atypical avian influenza (H5N1). Emerg Infect Dis. 2004 Jul;10(7):1321-4. Apisarnthanarak A, Kitphati R, Thongphubeth K, Patoomanunt P, Anthanont P, Auwanit W, Thawatsupha P, Chittaganpitch M, Saeng-Aroon S, Waicharoen S, Apisarnthanarak P, Storch GA, Mundy LM, Fraser VJ. Thammasart University Hospital, Klong Luang, Pratumthani, Thailand. PMID: 15324560
Relatives of avian flu patients have asymptomatic cases
Mar 9, 2005 (CIDRAP News) – Two relatives of avian influenza patients in northern Vietnam have tested positive for the virus without being sick, according to reports from Vietnam today.
researchers have recently described several instances of person-to-person transmission.
Now there is evidence that in rare cases it can spread from person to person.
Feather pillows may carry Asian bird flu
Poultry feathers imported from China to make products such as pillows could carry the avian flu virus, says a British microbiologist who is urging the British Government to consider banning them.