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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

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bird flu pandemic - Google News
This RSS feed URL is deprecated Sun, 18 Feb 2018 22:15:36 GMTThis RSS feed URL is deprecated, please update. New URLs can be found in the footers at https://news.google.com/news
H7N4 Bird Flu Infects Chinese Woman : Shots - Health News : NPR - NPR Thu, 15 Feb 2018 20:55:00 GMT

NPR

H7N4 Bird Flu Infects Chinese Woman : Shots - Health News : NPR
NPR
The case of a Chinese woman adds to a growing list of avian flu strains to keep an eye on, including ones that are deadly and contagious. So why are there so many?
China confirms first ever human case of H7N4 bird fluThe Guardian
World's first human case of H7N4 avian flu reported in ChinaCNN
First Human Case From New Bird Flu: How Many More Strains Are Out There?New Hampshire Public Radio
GovHK
all 27 news articles »
First Human Case of H7N4 Bird Flu Confirmed in China: What You ... - Newsweek Fri, 16 Feb 2018 15:31:56 GMT

Newsweek

First Human Case of H7N4 Bird Flu Confirmed in China: What You ...
Newsweek
The first human case of H7N4 bird flu has been confirmed in China. The patient, a 68-year-old woman in the Jiangsu province, is in stable condition and health authorities believe she will make a full recovery. According to The Guardian, the patient ...
First Human Case of H7N4 Bird Flu Confirmed in China: What You Need to KnowBrinkwire (press release)

all 5 news articles »
President Trump has been dangerously silent on this year's deadly flu epidemic - Vox Mon, 12 Feb 2018 20:50:16 GMT

Vox

President Trump has been dangerously silent on this year's deadly flu epidemic
Vox
No mention of the 2018 flu season. Of course, President Trump can't cure the flu. Nor can be he faulted that this year the flu has been deadly, as it has in years past. But he could tell people to get a flu shot and wash their hands — as past ...
Unusually harsh flu season — blamed for 130 deaths in Canada — now at 'peak levels'Edmonton Journal
Acute Myocardial Infarction after Laboratory-Confirmed Influenza Infection | NEJM - New England Journal of MedicineNew England Journal of Medicine
How people die from the fluPopular Science
Sepsis Alliance -WebMD
all 269 news articles »
Flu outbreak prompts health warnings, hospital precautions - New Jersey Herald Sun, 18 Feb 2018 05:09:09 GMT

New Jersey Herald

Flu outbreak prompts health warnings, hospital precautions
New Jersey Herald
Every so often, he added, flu viruses undergo a major "shift" to what is essentially an entirely new virus. Such was the case 100 years ago, when a 1918 influenza pandemic -- the worst in history -- took the lives of between 50 million and 100 million ...

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Soddy-Daisy woman survived Spanish flu pandemic of 1918 [photos] - Chattanooga Times Free Press Sun, 18 Feb 2018 05:02:34 GMT

Chattanooga Times Free Press

Soddy-Daisy woman survived Spanish flu pandemic of 1918 [photos]
Chattanooga Times Free Press
While it came to be known as Spanish flu, some researchers now believe it originated in Kansas in an Army training camp, possibly when a form of avian influenza jumped from migratory birds to swine and then to humans. Others argue the outbreak began ...

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South Korean Winter Olympics rocked by outbreaks of bird flu after deadly virus found in country's birds - The Sun Mon, 29 Jan 2018 12:00:55 GMT

The Sun

South Korean Winter Olympics rocked by outbreaks of bird flu after deadly virus found in country's birds
The Sun
"History tells us we are long overdue for a devastating pandemic that will wipe out large swathes of the population. "With so many spectators and athletes from different countries as it would then take just days to spread over the globe and cause a ...

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Fears of global pandemic as 'highly pathogenic' bird flu virus found - Daily Star Wed, 07 Feb 2018 23:10:04 GMT

Daily Star

Fears of global pandemic as 'highly pathogenic' bird flu virus found
Daily Star
ISRAELI officials have reported a “highly pathogenic” strain of the bird flu virus has been discovered in a wild bird. 0. By Rachel O'Donoghue / Published 7th February 2018. Bird flu found in Israel GETTY. DEADLY: The 'highly pathogenic' strain of bird ...

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The Spanish Flu Pandemic 100 Years Later: Are We Ready for Another One? - Contagionlive.com Fri, 16 Feb 2018 17:51:43 GMT

Contagionlive.com

The Spanish Flu Pandemic 100 Years Later: Are We Ready for Another One?
Contagionlive.com
The possibility that we could have a 1918-type pandemic again is actually very real.” The reason, he says, is that pandemics go back to ancient times; like hurricanes, they've occurred on a regular basis throughout history, with varying levels of ...

and more »
Here's why it's so hard to make a better flu vaccine - NBCNews.com Wed, 14 Feb 2018 20:58:43 GMT

NBCNews.com

Here's why it's so hard to make a better flu vaccine
NBCNews.com
Why bird flu? “The ultimate sources of pandemic flu strains are birds,” Taubenberger said. From H5N1 to H7N9, the viruses that threaten to cause havoc are bird flu viruses. The H1N1 virus that caused the 1918 pandemic originated in birds. A prototype ...
Flu season appearing to grow in Canada, new numbers showCTV News
Weekly U.S. Influenza Surveillance Report | Seasonal Influenza (Flu) | CDCCDC
Interim Estimates of 2017–18 Seasonal Influenza Vaccine Effectiveness — United States, February 2018 | MMWR - CDCCDC

all 642 news articles »
Are We Ready for a Flu Pandemic? - Healthline Fri, 26 Jan 2018 00:05:52 GMT

Healthline

Are We Ready for a Flu Pandemic?
Healthline
Today, there are better medications available, and a global system set up by institutions like the World Health Organization to monitor for new, potentially deadly viruses like the bird flu. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has a ...

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