Cat study shows the H5N1 virus attacking gut and other organs

Helen Pearson in Nature:

06011615Avian flu ravages tissues throughout the body, confirms an autopsy of infected cats. The finding suggests that the virus might infect people’s guts through what they eat, and spread via contaminated faeces.

Fears about bird flu continue to balloon, and with its arrival in Turkey, the disease has a foot in the door in Europe. The H5N1 strain of the virus has killed more than half of those people it is known to have infected.

Because of fears that the virus will spark a human pandemic, researchers want to know how it is likely to attack the body and jump between people. But they have had little opportunity to answer these questions, in part because only a handful of human victims have been autopsied.

More here.