Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

How long can viruses survive in a dead body?

People have a lot of questions about viruses right now. Some of those questions involve what happens to viruses in the remains of humans or animals. For example, could people get sick from digging up decades-old bodies? Or ...

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

Researchers trace coronavirus outbreak in China to snakes

Emerging viral infections—from bird flu to Ebola to Zika infections—pose major threats to global public health, and understanding their origins can help investigators design defensive strategies against future outbreaks. ...

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

Bird flu shuffle probes viral compatibility

When influenza viruses that infect birds and humans meet in the same cell, they can shuffle their genomes and produce new strains that might have pandemic potential. Think of this process, called reassortment, as viruses ...

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

Why pandemic influenza is so deadly – revealed

The Spanish flu virus infected a third of the world's population 100 years ago and claimed the lives of up to 100m people. The virus continued to evolve and its descendants went on to cause all subsequent flu pandemics, leading ...

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Influenza A virus subtype H5N1

Influenza A virus subtype H5N1, also known as "bird flu," A(H5N1) or simply H5N1, is a subtype of the Influenza A virus which can cause illness in humans and many other animal species. A bird-adapted strain of H5N1, called HPAI A(H5N1) for "highly pathogenic avian influenza virus of type A of subtype H5N1", is the causative agent of H5N1 flu, commonly known as "avian influenza" or "bird flu". It is enzootic in many bird populations, especially in Southeast Asia. One strain of HPAI A(H5N1) is spreading globally after first appearing in Asia. It is epizootic (an epidemic in nonhumans) and panzootic (affecting animals of many species, especially over a wide area), killing tens of millions of birds and spurring the culling of hundreds of millions of others to stem its spread. Most references to "bird flu" and H5N1 in the popular media refer to this strain.

According to the FAO Avian Influenza Disease Emergency Situation Update, H5N1 pathogenicity is continuing to gradually rise in endemic areas but the avian influenza disease situation in farmed birds is being held in check by vaccination. Eleven outbreaks of H5N1 were reported worldwide in June 2008 in five countries (China, Egypt, Indonesia, Pakistan and Vietnam) compared to 65 outbreaks in June 2006 and 55 in June 2007. The "global HPAI situation can be said to have improved markedly in the first half of 2008 [but] cases of HPAI are still underestimated and underreported in many countries because of limitations in country disease surveillance systems".

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