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Bird Flu Human to Human Transmission of H5N1 virus confirmed

June 23rd, 2006

Bird Flu  Human to Human Transmission of H5N1 virus confirmed


Scientists have 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 considered insignificant.


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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Nicole Wilson
Best Syndication

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