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Study Confirms Limited Human-To-Human Spread of Avian-Flu Virus in Indonesia in 2006
Date:8/28/2007

New software will provide first real-time analysis of such

infectious-disease outbreaks

SEATTLE, Aug. 28 /PRNewswire/ -- In the first systematic, statistical analysis of its kind, infectious-disease-modeling experts at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center confirm that the avian influenza A (H5N1) virus in 2006 spread between a small number of people within a family in Indonesia. The findings, by biostatistician Ira M. Longini Jr., Ph.D., and colleagues, appear online and will be published in the Sept. 1 print edition of Emerging Infectious Diseases, a journal of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Co-authors on the paper were biostatisticians M. Elizabeth (Betz) Halloran, M.D., D.Sc., and Yang Yang, Ph.D.; and epidemiologist Jonathan Sugimoto, M.H.S., a pre-doctoral research associate. All are within the Hutchinson Center's Public Health Sciences Division and Vaccine and Infectious Disease Institute.

The researchers based their findings on a cluster of eight flu cases within an extended family in northern Sumatra. Using a computerized disease-transmission model that took into account the number of infected cases, the number of people potentially exposed, the viral-incubation period and other parameters, the researchers produced the first statistical confirmation of humans contracting the disease from each other rather than from infected birds.

The cluster contained a chain of infection that involved a 10-year-old boy who probably caught the virus from his 37-year-old aunt, who had been exposed to dead poultry and chicken feces, the presumed source of infection. The boy then probably passed the virus to his father. The possibility that the boy infected his father was supported by genetic sequencing data. Other person-to-person transmissions in the cluster are backed up with statistical data. All but one of the flu victims died, and all had had sustained close contact with other ill family me
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SOURCE Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
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