Avian 'flu - genetic susceptibility?
In relation to the vast number of chicken farmers apparently exposed
in S.E.Asia, the proportion of severe & fatal cases seems relatively
small. Perhaps they mainly affect persons "constitutionally" (genetically)
susceptible to the virulent viruses. Evidence is scanty but in one family
outbreak of H5N1 reported early in the current epidemic the Viet-Namese
man and his two sisters (sharing family genes) died; his genetically
different new wife who also helped prepare chickens for the feast
recovered from her illness, and wedding guests were unaffected. I hope
investigations of incidents include genetic tests of involved humans as
well as of the viruses.
1 Grist NR. Bird Flu - Asian Invasion?? in Glasgow Natural History Society's Newsletter April-May 2004.
2 WHO Wkly Epid Record "Avian influenza A(H6N1) update 15 (2 Feb. 2004).
Competing interests: No competing interests