Bird Flu – Human to
Human Transmission of H5N1 virus confirmed
June 23rd, 2006
confirmed its first laboratory case of human-to-human transmission of an
Indonesian man who died after catching the H5N1 bird flu virus from his
10 year old son. The World Health Organization (WHO) said this Friday,
that this as an unusual family cluster.
According to a
report in the International Herald Tribune, WHO scientists have also
noted that the H5N1 virus has mutated slightly when the disease was
present in the son. WHO says that it does not mean that it would become
easily spread between humans. The Indonesian cluster at this time is
This is the first
time that WHO and the US Center for Disease Control (CDC) has been able
to identify the mutation and spread of the disease from human-to-human
in the laboratory setting. Previous suspected human-to-human
transmission of the bird flu has been believed to have already happened,
but this is the first case that the lab was able to identify.
At this time the
bird flu spreading among humans has not escalated to a pandemic level in
which the virus has mutated and has become easily spread and highly
contagious among humans. The majority of human cases of bird flu have
caught the disease from direct contact with infected poultry.
WHO has been
carefully monitoring the situation in Indonesia for any neighbors or
family members that lived in proximity to the family clusters to make
sure that it has not spread. At this time no one has gotten ill, which
means it has not become easily transmittable.
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