Tag Archives: Virus

CDC Reports First Human Case Of Avian Influenza

By Becker’s Hospital Review

A Colorado man has tested positive for an H5 bird flu virus, the first such case in the U.S., health officials said April 28. 

The Colorado health department said the man, who is younger than 40, had been working on a commercial farm with poultry that, according to the CDC, was presumably infected with H5N1.

He reported fatigue as his only symptom and is now in isolation and being treated with the flu antiviral drug oseltamivir. 

It’s unclear whether the exposure resulted in an infection, according to statements from the health agencies. Officials from the Colorado health department said a positive test result came from a single nasal specimen. The CDC confirmed that result April 27, though it said repeat testing has been negative. 

“Because the person was in close contact with infected poultry, the virus may have been present in the person’s nose without causing infection,” the Colorado health department said. The CDC said whether the positive test was the result of “surface contamination of the nasal membrane” cannot be determined now.

“The appropriate public health response at this time is to assume this is an infection and take actions to contain and treat,” the CDC said, adding risk to the general public remains low. 

The CDC has been monitoring H5N1 outbreaks among wild birds and poultry since late 2021.

The agency said it has been tracking the health of more than 2,500 people with exposure to infected birds, and this marks the only detected case. The first such human infection caused by the predominant group of H5N1 viruses now circulating was reported in the U.K. in December. 

“Dead” Virus Cells Frequently Trigger “False Positives” In Most Common COVID Test, New Study Finds

Tyler Durden
Sat, 09/05/2020 

In the past, our reports raising questions about the accuracy of COVID-19 tests have been met with accusations of ‘fearmongering’ and spreading ‘misinformation’. 

But not today.

That’s because new research from the University of Oxford’s Center for Evidence-Based Medicine and the University of the West of England has found that the swab-based technique used for most COVID-19 testing is at risk of returning “false positives” since copies of the virus’s RNA detected by the tests might simply be dead, inactive material from a weeks-old infection. Although patients infected with COVID-19 are typically only infectious for a week or less, tests can be triggered by virus genetic material left over from a weeks-old infection.

The team’s research involved analyzing 25 studies on the widely used polymerase chain reaction test. PCR tests use material collected with a swab – the most common type of test around the world, and especially in the US – then utilize a “genetic photocopying” technique that allows scientists to magnify the small sample of genetic material collected, which they can then analyze for signs of viral RNA.

What the researchers here have effectively found is that these PCR tests just aren’t sensitive enough to distinguish if the viral material is active and infectious, or dead and inert.

For those who desire a more comprehensive understanding of how these tests work, the chart below can be helpful.

Professor Carl Heneghan, one of the authors of the study, said there was a risk that a surge in testing across the UK was increasing the risk of this sample contamination occurring and it may explain why the number of Covid-19 cases is rising but the number of deaths is static.