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October 31, 2005

Human immunity to H5N1?

A story on canada.com describes the mysterious immunity of many Asians whose constant contact with poultry ought to have made them sick. Instead they thrive while others, whose contact with poultry is far less, fall ill.

The story also offers comments on the disturbing vulnerability of the young:

Out of 41 confirmed cases examined in the [New England Journal of Medicine] article (which doesn't include all of them) from outbreaks in 2004-05, the ages of those infected ranged from two to 58. In Thailand and Cambodia, researchers calculated the median age of those infected: 14 in Thailand and 22 in Cambodia. For the Vietnam outbreak in 2004, they calculated an average age of 14.

The researchers also noted that recent infections have caused "high rates of death among infants and young children. The case fatality rate was 89 per cent among those younger than 15 years of age in Thailand."


Posted by dymaxion at October 31, 2005 11:21 AM

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