-- Robert Preidt
THURSDAY, Nov. 14 (HealthDay News) -- The first confirmed case
of a person infected with a new H6N1 bird flu virus subtype has
been reported by scientists in Taiwan.
They said further research is needed to assess the potential
threat posed by the H6N1 virus, which is found in wild and domestic
birds in many parts of the world.
The patient was a 20-year-old woman from central Taiwan who
arrived at a hospital in May 2013 with flu-like symptoms and
shortness of breath. She responded to treatment with Tamiflu
(oseltamivir) and has since fully recovered.
Tests on throat-swab samples taken from the woman revealed that
she was infected with a new H6N1 bird flu virus that closely
resembled chicken H6N1 viruses that have been circulating in Taiwan
Further investigation showed that the virus had evolved the
ability to target receptors in the upper respiratory tract of
humans, which could make it more infectious to humans, said study
lead author Dr. Ho-Sheng Wu, from the Centers for Disease Control
The source of the woman's infection is unknown. She worked in a
delicatessen, had not been out of the country for three months
before she was infected, and had not been in close contact with
poultry or wild birds. No H6N1 virus was found in two poultry
breeding facilities close to the woman's home.
The woman was in close contact with 36 people, and six of them
developed a fever or respiratory tract infection. However,
infection with H6N1 was ruled out in those cases, according to the
study published online Nov. 14 in
The Lancet Respiratory Medicine.
The findings suggest that a new group of H6N1 viruses with the
ability to target receptors in the human respiratory tract have
become common in poultry in Taiwan, according to the
"As these viruses continue to evolve and accumulate changes, they increase the potential risk of human infection. Further investigations are needed to clarify the potential threat posed by this emerging virus," Wu said in a journal news release.
The World Health Organization has more about
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