Popular bird flu topics >

Bird flu pandemic

The following information was posted by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and is the best description of a bird flu pandemic that we have seen so far.

"Avian influenza refers to a large group of different influenza viruses that primarily affect birds. On rare occasions, these bird viruses can infect other species, including pigs and humans. The vast majority of avian influenza viruses do not infect humans. An influenza pandemic happens when a new subtype emerges that has not previously circulated in humans. For this reason, avian H5N1 is a strain with pandemic potential, since it might ultimately adapt into a strain that is contagious among humans. Once this adaptation occurs, it will no longer be a bird virus--it will be a human influenza virus. Influenza pandemics are caused by new influenza viruses that have adapted to humans.

Influenza pandemics are recurring events.

An influenza pandemic is a rare but recurrent event. Three pandemics occurred in the previous century: “Spanish influenza” in 1918, “Asian influenza” in 1957, and “Hong Kong influenza” in 1968. The 1918 pandemic killed an estimated 40–50 million people worldwide. That pandemic, which was exceptional, is considered one of the deadliest disease events in human history. Subsequent pandemics were much milder, with an estimated 2 million deaths in 1957 and 1 million deaths in 1968. A pandemic occurs when a new influenza virus emerges and starts spreading as easily as normal influenza – by coughing and sneezing. Because the virus is new, the human immune system will have no pre-existing immunity. This makes it likely that people who contract pandemic influenza will experience more serious disease than that caused by normal influenza.

The world may be on the brink of a bird flu pandemic.

Health experts have been monitoring a new and extremely severe influenza virus – the H5N1 strain – for almost eight years. The H5N1 strain first infected humans in Hong Kong in 1997, causing 18 cases, including six deaths. Since mid-2003, this virus has caused the largest and most severe outbreaks in poultry on record. In December 2003, infections in people exposed to sick birds were identified. Since then, over 100 human cases have been laboratory confirmed in four Asian countries (Cambodia, Indonesia, Thailand, and Viet Nam), and more than half of these people have died. Most cases have occurred in previously healthy children and young adults. Fortunately, the virus does not jump easily from birds to humans or spread readily and sustainably among humans. Should H5N1 evolve to a form as contagious as normal influenza, a bird flu pandemic could begin.

All countries will be affected.

Once a fully contagious virus emerges, its global spread is considered inevitable. Countries might, through measures such as border closures and travel restrictions, delay arrival of the virus, but cannot stop it. The pandemics of the previous century encircled the globe in 6 to 9 months, even when most international travel was by ship. Given the speed and volume of international air travel today, the virus could spread more rapidly, possibly reaching all continents in less than 3 months.

Widespread illness will occur.

Because most people will have no immunity to the bird flu pandemic virus, infection and illness rates are expected to be higher than during seasonal epidemics of normal influenza. Current projections for the next pandemic estimate that a substantial percentage of the world’s population will require some form of medical care. Few countries have the staff, facilities, equipment, and hospital beds needed to cope with large numbers of people who suddenly fall ill.

WHO will alert the world when the bird flu pandemic threat increases.

WHO works closely with ministries of health and various public health organizations to support countries' surveillance of circulating influenza strains. A sensitive surveillance system that can detect emerging influenza strains is essential for the rapid detection of a pandemic virus. Six distinct phases have been defined to facilitate pandemic preparedness planning, with roles defined for governments, industry, and WHO. The present situation is categorized as phase 3: a virus new to humans is causing infections, but does not spread easily from one person to another."

Below the list are the most up-to-date news headlines relating to the bird flu pandemic threat

Bookmark and Share

bird flu pandemic - Google News
This RSS feed URL is deprecated Tue, 24 Apr 2018 14:27:00 GMTThis RSS feed URL is deprecated, please update. New URLs can be found in the footers at https://news.google.com/news
A century ago, the Spanish flu killed 100 million people. Is a new pandemic on the way? - New Statesman Sat, 21 Apr 2018 10:23:45 GMT

New Statesman

A century ago, the Spanish flu killed 100 million people. Is a new pandemic on the way?
New Statesman
Spinney's background as a science writer shines through: her handling of the workings of the flu is detailed and deft. She brings both the influenza A virus (the only type responsible for pandemics) and the human immune system to life, laying out the ...

The 1918 influenza pandemic affected the whole world. Could it happen again? - ABC Online Thu, 12 Apr 2018 23:06:00 GMT

ABC Online

The 1918 influenza pandemic affected the whole world. Could it happen again?
ABC Online
While seasonal flu constantly circulates and mutates, most people build up a level of immunity to it. A pandemic happens when a new flu virus — one we have no or low pre-existing immunity to — enters the human population. This can happen through ...

and more »
Did the 1918 Spanish Flu Pandemic Originate in China? - The News Lens International Wed, 18 Apr 2018 04:01:28 GMT

The News Lens International

Did the 1918 Spanish Flu Pandemic Originate in China?
The News Lens International
Hong Kong began culling 20,000 chickens after the discovery of the H7N9 bird flu virus in a batch of live chicken from Guangdong. Given these facts, for decades China – along with the American Midwest and Western Europe – has been on the shortlist for ...

and more »
A century after the Spanish flu, are we ready for another pandemic? - The Sydney Morning Herald Thu, 19 Apr 2018 07:05:52 GMT

The Sydney Morning Herald

A century after the Spanish flu, are we ready for another pandemic?
The Sydney Morning Herald
A chance encounter lets it loose in New South Wales. Then again, it thrives on chance encounters. On January 20, 1919, two strangers find themselves in a railway carriage, sharing the long, rackety train journey from Melbourne to Sydney. It's midsummer ...

and more »
Zombie Apocalypse in the Arctic - Anchorage Press Thu, 19 Apr 2018 09:45:13 GMT

Anchorage Press

Zombie Apocalypse in the Arctic
Anchorage Press
Scientists have used today's modern “AIR Pandemic Flu Model” to simulate what a similar influenza event would do the general population. “It definitely has some zombie-like similarities,” Bruce said, in regards to what a Spanish Flu placed in today's ...

Bird flu in Kalapani under control - Kuensel, Buhutan's National Newspaper Mon, 26 Mar 2018 10:21:06 GMT

Kuensel, Buhutan's National Newspaper

Bird flu in Kalapani under control
Kuensel, Buhutan's National Newspaper
The outbreak of bird flu, Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (H5N1), Kalapani village in Gomtu, Samtse is now under control with no new cases. The outbreak was reported on March 17. Department of Livestock's (DoL) spokesperson, Kinzang Dukpa (PhD), who ...

New viruses found - Independent Wed, 11 Apr 2018 09:16:37 GMT

Independent

New viruses found
Independent
She explained that any delay in detecting an outbreak means more expenditure in managing large numbers of people affected. Uganda has been commended for handling of the outbreak of bird flu. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC ...

and more »
New bird flu virus H6N2 comes to roost - Times of India Mon, 02 Apr 2018 05:52:42 GMT

New bird flu virus H6N2 comes to roost
Times of India
HYDERABAD: A new bird flu virus has been brought to the country by migratory birds causing concern among researchers and health experts. The novel avian influenza virus(AIV) is a reassorted variety of H6N2, which iscapable of infecting human beings too ...

Zoonotic Threats: As Unpredictable as They Are Dangerous - Contagionlive.com Thu, 29 Mar 2018 15:05:19 GMT

Contagionlive.com

Zoonotic Threats: As Unpredictable as They Are Dangerous
Contagionlive.com
Among the top concerns of public health officials are the H7N9 avian flu in China, the H5N1 bird flu strain in Egypt, and hemorrhagic fevers like Ebola and Marburg. The vast array of potential threats, and the exceedingly rare odds that any particular ...

“There's no equality in healthcare”: Working under the shadow of Ireland's 8th - New Statesman Wed, 18 Apr 2018 12:16:11 GMT

New Statesman

“There's no equality in healthcare”: Working under the shadow of Ireland's 8th
New Statesman
Spinney's background as a science writer shines through: her handling of the workings of the flu is detailed and deft. She brings both the influenza A virus (the only type responsible for pandemics) and the human immune system to life, laying out the ...

and more »

Bookmark and Share