Cluster case AI virus: 21 mutations

17-07-2006 | |

The bird flu virus isolated from the last Indonesian man who died in the Sumatran AI cluster case had accumulated 21 genetic mutations, according to the journal Nature.

The magazine (Volume 442 Number 7099) published details of a report on the cluster outbreak compiled for the Indonesian government.

Analysis of the viruses recovered from the cluster showed that the viruses changed as they moved through three generations of the affected family.

When the man’s death from bird flu – and the related virus mutation – was confirmed last month, the World Health Organisation stressed that the mutation, which they described as slight, does not mean the virus can pass more easily among people.

Since the outbreak of the H5N1 strain of the virus in Asia in 2003, scientists have feared that it may mutate into a strain that passes easily between humans. The cluster case in Sumatra is still the only case where human-to-human transmission has been confirmed.

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