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A Temporary History of the Avian Influenza H5N1 Virus

Though many various influenza viruses infect birds and have for a few years, the history of the avian influenza H5N1 virus in people is relatively transient, because the primary cases noted occurred in 2003 in China and Viet Nam, in response to the World Health Organization (WHO). The WHO only reports confirmed cases, in which the presence of H5N1 avian influenza microbes have been detected using blood tests or swabs of the contaminated person’s nostril or throat.

Wild birds carry the viruses, but they are often unaffected by them. However, in domesticated birds (chickens, geese and turkeys) the viruses cause illness and sometimes death. Symptoms could also be gentle causing ruffled feathers and low egg production or severe causing disease that affects multiple organs and dying in 90-a hundred% of flocks in as little as forty eight hours. It is believed that the degree of distinction in avian flu signs is related to the strain of the flu virus infecting the birds. H5N1 avian influenza microbes cause severe symptoms in poultry and in lots of cases whole flocks must be destroyed to stop the spread of the disease.

Infection with avian influenza microbes among humans is uncommon and often occurs in persons handling or tending infected flocks of poultry and most strains, inflicting only delicate illnesses. The history of the avian influenza H5N1 virus has shown that this strain might be deadly to humans as well. There have been 253 confirmed cases in people since 2003, leading to 148 deaths. This high percentage of fatalities (fifty eight%) following infection with avian influenza microbes has scientists and public health officers all through the world worried.

Viruses usually change slowly over time and the human immune system can identify them, because they are so much like previously current viruses and reply to them quickly. On rare occasions previously, viruses have modified all of the sudden, referred to as “antigenic shift”, inflicting severe illness, quite a few human deaths and worldwide epidemics. Generally these viruses had not beforehand infected people, however had infected different animals, reminiscent of pigs or birds. Or, they had not been highly contagious amongst humans, as with the H5N1 strain, but out of the blue change and turn out to be easily transmitted from one human to another. Since the history of the avian influenza H5N1 virus has shown that it may infect people, scientists consider that it may turn out to be highly contagious amongst them, inflicting pandemics or worldwide epidemics. Scientists consider that only two proteins within the H5N1 avian influenza microbes would need to alter to ensure that it to turn out to be as simply transmitted among people as the seasonal flu.

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