Egyptian H5N1 cases prompt speculation about silent infections

first_imgApr 8, 2009 (CIDRAP News) – The recent series of H5N1 avian influenza cases in Egyptian children yet very few in adults has raised concern that some Egyptians may be getting infected without getting sick, according to a Reuters news report published today.John Jabbour, a World Health Organization (WHO) emerging diseases specialist based in Cairo, said the Egyptian government and the WHO are planning a study to find out if subclinical or asymptomatic cases have been occurring, according to the story.Jabbour said the occurrence of asymptomatic cases would be worrisome because it could give the undetected virus more time to mutate in human hosts, Reuters reported.”If there is any subclinical case in Egypt, the aim is to treat immediately to stop the reproduction of the virus,” he told Reuters. “Because whether [through] mutation or reassortment, this will lead to the pandemic strain.”The story said that all but two of the 11 Egyptians infected with H5N1 this year have been children under age 3 (the official WHO count for Egypt reached 12 today). In the same period last year, most of the seven Egyptian case-patients were adults and older children, the report said.Jabbour said the string of cases in children without similar cases in adults had prompted the questions whether adults were being infected without falling ill.He said the Egyptian study would involve testing the blood of people who were potentially exposed to infected birds but had not gotten sick.Tim Uyeki, MD, a medical epidemiologist in the Influenza Division at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told CIDRAP News that limited studies in several countries over the past few years have found relatively little serologic evidence of asymptomatic or unrecognized cases of H5N1 virus infection.When the H5N1 virus first infected humans in Hong Kong in 1997, there were two studies in which investigators looked for H5N1 antibodies in people who had potentially been exposed to the virus, Uyeki said. One study focused on 293 poultry cullers, of whom only nine (3%) were found to have H5N1 antibodies, indicating past infection. In the other study, involving 1,525 poultry workers, an estimated 10% had antibodies.More recent studies “have either found no evidence of H5N1 virus infection or very low seroprevalence of H5N1 antibodies, around 1% or less, among different exposed populations,” Uyeki said. “Since H5N1 virus strains continue to evolve, there’s a continued need for these studies in people who have contact with poultry in countries where H5N1 virus strains are circulating in birds, since the risk of transmission to exposed persons could change.”Uyeki also noted that subclinical infection with seasonal influenza virus is known to occur. “But how that relates to H5N1 is unclear,” he said.See also: Jan 25 2008 CIDRAP News story “Cambodian study hints at subclinical H5N1 cases”last_img read more

No regrets for Pochettino

first_imgMauricio Pochettino experienced the best time of his life when managing Southampton, yet maintains leaving for Tottenham was the right decision. His exit sparked an unparalleled exodus from the club, with chairman Ralph Krueger accusing those players of only wanting a short-cut to Champions League football. Such comments were also aimed at Pochettino in the wake of his move to White Hart Lane – and were suggestions he was quick to reject. “No, no, no,” he said. “My decision was my decision for a lot of reasons, but if I don’t talk in the moment, now is for me [time to] forget. I am looking forward. “Southampton was a great period in my life – I think the best period in my life, that one year and a half. “A lot of people love me from Southampton and I have very good memories. I don’t… I can’t explain another thing.” Pochettino faces an emotional reunion with his former club for the first time this Sunday, when, r emarkably, Saints arrive looking for a seventh straight win in all competitions. Such form meant Ronald Koeman’s side began the weekend second in the table, whereas Spurs are in the bottom half after going four league matches without a win. Furthermore, they have lost their last two top-flight matches at White Hart Lane, but that difficulty to transfer his methods does not mean Pochettino has any regrets at swapping the south coast for north London. “Yes [it was a big decision to leave], but always in your life you need to take a decision and decide,” he said. “When you take a decision it is always a big decision. “When I take a decision, I always believe. After, maybe you have luck or no luck, but when you take a decision in your life you always need to be looking forward.” Pochettino says he still loves Southampton, yet he knows that affection is unlikely to be reciprocated by the travelling support, for whom victory would taste particularly sweet. A positive result would also fuel talk as to whether they can maintain such form throughout the season – something Pochettino was coy about when asked if they were top-four rivals. “Some players left,” he said. “The manager and staff left, but they invested a lot of money in the new players. “They signed very good players and I think the team have a lot of players in Southampton that played with us. “Maybe, yes, some players left, but they invest in new players and very good players. “It is the beginning of the season and in football it is not like you finish in May. It is a very long, long, long race. “I am happy for their start to the season, but today it is impossible to guess what will happen eight months ahead.” The former Argentina international was a relative unknown when he rocked up at St Mary’s to controversially replace the popular Nigel Adkins in January 2013. It did not take long for Pochettino to win around the doubters, though, and last season Saints enjoyed their best-ever Barclays Premier League campaign – success which persuaded Spurs to bring him to White Hart Lane. Press Associationlast_img read more