Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

Could our immune system be why COVID-19 is so deadly?

Respiratory viruses such as SARS-CoV-2 (causing COVID-19) can often catalyze an overactive immune response that leads to a life-threatening cycle, known as a cytokine storm. Analyzing cytokine responses from patients infected ...

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

Human antibody reveals hidden vulnerability in influenza virus

The ever-changing "head" of an influenza virus protein has an unexpected Achilles heel, report scientists funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), one of the National Institutes of Health. ...

Medical research

New approach to tackle Ebola and other deadly infections

Medical Research Council scientists have isolated therapeutic antibodies from healthy volunteers exposed to the Ebola vaccine but not Ebola virus itself, suggesting that protective therapies could be developed from people ...

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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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