Sunday, January 25, 2015

New case of highly pathogenic avian influenza in the US

The Ornithology Exchange just put out a press release that a Green-winged Teal was just found to have HPA1 H5N1. 

To break this down. HP = highly pathogenic (high mortality rate with birds), A1 = serotype, H5 = hemagglutinin type 5 - which determines the taxonomic breadth of infection (and 5 is not very picky), N1 is neuraminidase type 1 - which affects the virus leaving the host call and is related to how fatal the disease is. 

The bad: they call it HP for a reason. If this is a virulent strain and able to get around then many many birds may die. This type HP A1 H5N1 has very few detections in the US.

The good: this strain is unrelated to the Asian strains that are deadly to humans. Whew. There was always bird flu in the US but not this mixture of hemagglutinin and neuraminidase but, yes, HP strains of these that have killed thousands of birds. 

We discovered the strain because of monitoring. Money well spent I would argue. 

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