There is a disturbing new report out of Vietnam that appears to indicate that one family there has tested positive for both the H5N1 bird flu and the H1N1 swine flu. According to the report, poultry belonging to the family has also tested positive for the H5N1 bird flu. H5N1 has been circulating in Vietnam for several years, and now H1N1 has gotten a strong foothold there. Some infectious disease experts are now concerned that Vietnam could become the type of "fertile breeding ground" where we could actually see a reassortment or recombination where the H5N1 bird flu virus and the H1N1 swine flu virus combine to form a completely new strain. In fact, one of the top virologists in the world said that if such a reassortment happens, he will "retire immediately and lock myself in the P3 lab." Why would he be so concerned? It is because such a recombination could potentially create a "super strain" of the flu that would be as fatal as H5N1 but as easily transmissible as H1N1. If such a strain developed we could really be looking at a doomsday scenario.
That is why it is so important to keep a close eye on this situation in Vietnam. This could potentially become very dangerous very quickly.
A translation from the disturbing new report from Vietnam is posted below....
More and anxiety on the basis of when Dr. Nguyen Tran Hien, Director of Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology PRIVATE announce the result of epidemiological investigations deaths due to bird flu recently in Dien Bien. Male patients age 23 in the city of Dien Bien death from respiratory failure due to severe viral pneumonia was confirmed by test results: The patient died from H5N1.
When investigating the epidemiology of close contact with patients, medical experts are concerned when they discovered the children of influenza A/H1N1 infected patients. Meanwhile, the Forum chickens living in the cousin has test results positive for H5N1 virus.
If any of you hear of any other reports about H5N1 and H1N1 being found together please let us know. The potential for a recombination between the two is so real that the WHO even put out a press release about it recently. This will definitely be something to watch for in the coming days.