Neutrophils May Be a Vehicle for Viral Replication and Dissemination in Human H5N1 Avian Influenza

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The mechanism of systemic spread of H5N1 virus in patients with avian influenza is unknown. Here, H5N1 nucleoprotein and hemagglutinin were identified by immunohistochemistry in the nucleus and cytoplasm of neutrophils in the placental blood of a pregnant woman. Viral RNA was detected in neutrophils by in situ hybridization and enhanced real–time polymerase chain reaction. Therefore, neutrophils may serve as a vehicle for viral replication and transportation in avian influenza.

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