I'm not going to post the full article because it's reasonably lengthy and somewhat over my head, but here's a snip:
TORONTO (CP) - A diagnostic test designed by Canadian researchers and used in Vietnam to detect H5N1 avian flu is out of date, scientists from the National Microbiology Laboratory admit - raising the possibility some human cases may have been dismissed in error.
The test was designed at the Winnipeg lab using genetic sequencing information from samples of the virus that circulated in the first quarter of 2004. But the virus has changed enough since then that questions have surfaced about the test's sensitivity.
Tracking the virus's forays into and among humans is critical, given fears that H5N1 may acquire the ability to easily transmit from person to person, sparking an influenza pandemic.
"Well, you have to be concerned," says Dr. Earl Brown, a virologist at the University of Ottawa who specializes in influenza evolution. Brown was not involved in the design of the test.
"You want to have a good idea of how much infection is going on out there. And if you're starting calling certain people with pneumonia or whatever infections negative when they're not, then you're not recognizing the full situation."
This is not the first suggestion that labs in Vietnam may have underestimated the number of positive cases there.
Earlier this year, Japanese scientists retested a number of specimens that technicians at a lab in Ho Chi Minh had determined were negative. The re-analysis found several of the rejected cases were actually positive.
Full story is here.
Just that snip makes it more imperative that I find out just what it was my friend was diagnosed with.
One of my correspondents in Viet Nam said in an email yesterday that something called SOT XUAT HUYET is afflicting many people in the country. That translates as hemorrage fever. Viet Nam has never had something like that before and coupled with the reports coming from China, I'd say this Chinese disease problem is truly ominous.
The BBC & ABC claims Bird Flu.