Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

The flu is coming: Are we ready for the next pandemic?

Even though many people dismiss and misunderstand it—calling everything from a cold to a stomach bug "the flu"— influenza actually claims 12,000 to 56,000 lives in the U.S. every year. And that's in a normal flu season.

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

Raising awareness of the risks of natural sciences research

New research findings from biology and chemistry are a blessing for the world of medicine. However, if they are misused for military purposes, they can reveal a darker side. How to deal with the "dual-use dilemma"? This was ...

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

Bird flu strain may have jumped from cat to human

(HealthDay)—A veterinarian appears to have been infected with a strain of avian flu known as H7N2 that spread among more than 100 cats housed at New York City animal shelters. If confirmed, this would be the first known ...

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

Alaska identifies first case of H5N2 bird flu

The bird flu strain that wiped out millions of turkeys and chickens in the Midwest last year has been found in Alaska for the first time.

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

Minnesota lifts final remaining bird flu quarantines

Minnesota has lifted the last remaining quarantines on poultry farms that were infected with a deadly form of bird flu, officials announced Tuesday, marking a milestone in the state's recovery from an outbreak that cost its ...

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Avian influenza

Avian influenza, sometimes avian flu, and commonly bird flu, refers to "influenza caused by viruses adapted to birds." Of greatest concern is highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI).

"Bird flu" is a phrase similar to "swine flu," "dog flu," "horse flu," or "human flu" in that it refers to an illness caused by any of many different strains of influenza viruses that have adapted to a specific host. All known viruses that cause influenza in birds belong to the species influenza A virus. All subtypes (but not all strains of all subtypes) of influenza A virus are adapted to birds, which is why for many purposes avian flu virus is the influenza A virus (note that the "A" does not stand for "avian").

Adaptation is non-exclusive. Being adapted towards a particular species does not preclude adaptations, or partial adaptations, towards infecting different species. In this way strains of influenza viruses are adapted to multiple species, though may be preferential towards a particular host. For example, viruses responsible for influenza pandemics are adapted to both humans and birds. Recent influenza research into the genes of the Spanish flu virus shows it to have genes adapted to both birds and humans; with more of its genes from birds than less deadly later pandemic strains.

This text uses material from Wikipedia, licensed under CC BY-SA