A multi-species outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza(H5N1)inGrdJotyar, Iraq: a detailed report

Original article


Stephen A. Felt, Magdi D. Saad, Samuel L. Yingst

US Naval Medical Research Unit No. 3, Cairo, Egypt

Libyan J Infect Dis. Vol. 2, No.1. Jan-2008:45-51


Background/objectives: In February 2006, the authors were deployed to the Kurdistan area of Iraq following the laboratory confirmation of the country’s first human death attributable to H5N1. The epidemiological, clinical, pathological and diagnostic features associated with this enzootic in Grd Jotyar, Iraq are described.
Materials and Methods: Various clinical samples from people, cats, chickens and various species of domesticated birds were collected and underwent serological and virological testing.
Results: Infected tissues from humans, birds and cats were >99% identical at the nucleotide and amino acid levels for HA1 and HA2 genes indicating no viral adaptation to cats occurred. The cats’ pancreata were infected with virus and presented with striking areas of focal hemorrhage. Involvement of this organ in both natural and experimental H5N1 infections in felids has not been reported previously.
Conclusion: The authors contend the unique susceptibility of the domestic cat to this virus, particularly in poultry farming areas with poor biosecurity practices, may serve to make it a key sentinel species for the spread of this virus into new agrarian areas.

Keywords: Avian Influenza, H5N1, cat, goose, chicken, human, zoonoses, sentinel

Link/DOI: http://www.nidcc.org.ly/reports/THE%20LIBYAN%20JOURNAL%20OF%20%20Infectious%20Diseases%20V2%20%20No%201/7%20Avian%20Influenza(H5N1)InIraq.pdf