Overview of the Respiratory System
Avian Influenza: H5N1
H5N1 is a variant of influenza A virus that usually does not infect humans. Thus, most humans do not have pre-existing immunity to this strain. Beginning in 1997, more than 100 cases of human infection by bird influenza virus H5N1 have been documented. It is believed that most cases of H5N1 were spread by direct contact with infected poultry, and to date, the virus has not acquired a mechanism for efficient transfer from human to human.
The behavior of the virus may be changing. There is evidence that H5N1 has become more lethal and acquired the ability to replicate in pigs and several other mammalian species. In addition, H5N1 infection resulted in an unusual die-off of 6,000 migratory birds in China in April, 2005.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2005). Information about influenza pandemics. Retrieved 10-18-2005 from http://www.cdc.gov/flu/avian/gen-info/pandemics.htm.
- Hein, T., Jong, M., Farrar, J., & Phil, D. (2004, December 2). Avian Influenza: A Challenge to Global Health Care Structures. The New England Journal of Medicine. Retrieved 10-21-2005 from http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/351/23/2363
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2005). PandemicFlu.gov. Retrieved 11-02-2005 from http://pandemicflu.gov/
- World Health Organization. (2004). Avian Influenza. Retrieved 10-19-2005 from http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/avian_influenza/en/index.html
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