Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

Vietnam, Cambodia report bird flu deaths

(AP) -- Vietnam on Thursday confirmed its first human death from bird flu in nearly two years, a day after neighboring Cambodia also logged its first fatality this year as new cases of the H5N1 virus are reported in Asia ...

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

World vigilant after Dutch lab mutates killer virus

World health ministers said Friday they were being vigilant after a Dutch laboratory developed a mutant version of the deadly bird flu virus that is for the first time contagious among humans.

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

Pigeon tests positive for H5N1 in Hong Kong

Hong Kong authorities said Saturday that a dead pigeon found in the city had tested positive for the H5N1 bird flu virus.

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

US-based scientist makes potent version of H1N1 flu

A US-based Japanese scientist said Wednesday he has succeeded in engineering a version of the so-called swine flu virus that would be able to evade the human immune system.

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

H5N1 virus targets pulmonary endothelial cells

The H5N1 virus has killed roughly 60 percent of humans infected, a mortality rate which is orders of magnitude higher than that of seasonal influenza virus. Many victims of the former fall heir to acute respiratory distress  ...

HIV & AIDS

HIV's march around Europe mapped

Those travelling abroad should take seriously advice to pack their condoms and keep their needles to themselves: research published today in the open access journal Retrovirology shows that tourists, travellers and migrants ...

Medical research

Controversial research on bird flu

In a top-security lab in the Netherlands, scientists guard specimens of a super-killer influenza that slays half of those it infects and spreads easily from victim to victim.

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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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