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Avian Influenza Infection in Humans

Updated: Sunday, March 26, 2017 11:55 AM EDT
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Avian Influenza Infection in Humans

Although avian influenza A viruses usually do not infect humans, more than 100 confirmed cases of human infection with avian influenza viruses have been reported since 1997. For example, the World Health Organization (WHO) maintains situation updates and cumulative reports of human cases of avian influenza A (H5N1). Most cases of avian influenza infection in humans are thought to have resulted from direct contact with infected poultry or contaminated surfaces. However, there is still a lot to learn about how different subtypes and strains of avian influenza virus might affect humans. For example, it is not known how the distinction between low pathogenic and highly pathogenic strains might impact the health risk to humans. (For more information, see “Low Pathogenic versus Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza Viruses” on the CDC Influenza Viruses Web page.

Because of concerns about the potential for more widespread infection in the human population, public health authorities closely monitor outbreaks of human illness associated with avian influenza. To date, human infections with avian influenza A viruses detected since 1997 have not resulted in sustained human-to-human transmission. However, because influenza A viruses have the potential to change and gain the ability to spread easily between people, monitoring for human infection and person-to-person transmission is important.

Instances of Avian Influenza Infections in Humans

Confirmed instances of avian influenza viruses infecting humans since 1997 include:

Symptoms of Avian Influenza in Humans

The reported symptoms of avian influenza in humans have ranged from typical influenza-like symptoms (e.g., fever, cough, sore throat, and muscle aches) to eye infections (conjunctivitis), pneumonia, acute respiratory distress, viral pneumonia, and other severe and life-threatening complications.

Antiviral Agents for Influenza

Four different influenza antiviral drugs (amantadine, rimantadine, oseltamivir, and zanamivir) are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of influenza; three are approved for prophylaxis. All four have activity against influenza A viruses. However, sometimes influenza strains can become resistant to these drugs, and therefore the drugs may not always be effective. For example, analyses of some of the 2004 H5N1 viruses isolated from poultry and humans in Asia have shown that the viruses are resistant to two of the medications (amantadine and rimantadine). Monitoring of avian influenza A viruses for resistance to influenza antiviral medications is ongoing.

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30 Jun 2016 at 8:08am
Bird flu fears means there could be a Christmas shortgage of foie gras - and ...
30 Jun 2016 at 8:08am
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30 Jun 2016 at 2:26am
New Bird Flu Outbreaks Found in Ghana - ThePoultrySite.com
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29 Jun 2016 at 11:25am
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28 Jun 2016 at 8:04pm
Poultry return after bird flu sparked ban - Greenfield Daily Reporter
28 Jun 2016 at 8:04pm
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Poultry farmers urged to be alert as bird flu hits the Netherlands - Agriland
25 Jun 2016 at 6:02am
Poultry farmers urged to be alert as bird flu hits the Netherlands - Agriland
25 Jun 2016 at 6:02am
Precautionary measures in place to keep out bird flu - The Straits Times
24 Jun 2016 at 2:48am
Precautionary measures in place to keep out bird flu - The Straits Times
24 Jun 2016 at 2:48am
Bird Flu Outbreak Reported in China's Hunan Province - ThePoultrySite.com
24 Jun 2016 at 2:16am
Bird Flu Outbreak Reported in China's Hunan Province - ThePoultrySite.com
24 Jun 2016 at 2:16am
8000 chickens culled as bird flu found in Iao Hon market, Macau - Macau News
23 Jun 2016 at 8:30pm
8000 chickens culled as bird flu found in Iao Hon market, Macau - Macau News
23 Jun 2016 at 8:30pm
Bird flu hits Wright County - Belmond Indepedent
22 Jun 2016 at 9:14am
Bird flu hits Wright County - Belmond Indepedent
22 Jun 2016 at 9:14am
South Dakota hens nearing pre-bird-flu numbers - Tri-State Neighbor
21 Jun 2016 at 2:58pm
South Dakota hens nearing pre-bird-flu numbers - Tri-State Neighbor
21 Jun 2016 at 2:58pm
Bird Flu Outbreak Discovered in Lebanon - ThePoultrySite.com
20 Jun 2016 at 2:29am
Bird Flu Outbreak Discovered in Lebanon - ThePoultrySite.com
20 Jun 2016 at 2:29am
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19 Jun 2016 at 4:03pm
Hong Kong chickens could be given extra shot against H7 bird flu virus - Sout...
19 Jun 2016 at 4:03pm
China's big cities step up battle to curb bird flu - AsiaOne
15 Jun 2016 at 6:39pm
China's big cities step up battle to curb bird flu - AsiaOne
15 Jun 2016 at 6:39pm
Beijing has new H7N9 bird flu case - Shanghai Daily (subscription)
15 Jun 2016 at 8:51am
Beijing has new H7N9 bird flu case - Shanghai Daily (subscription)
15 Jun 2016 at 8:51am
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11 Jun 2016 at 6:35am
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11 Jun 2016 at 6:35am
Bird flu aftershocks still rattling Iowa poultry producers - Radio Iowa
9 Jun 2016 at 7:40am
Bird flu aftershocks still rattling Iowa poultry producers - Radio Iowa
9 Jun 2016 at 7:40am
No bird flu in Minnesota this year - KWLM (Willmar Radio)
9 Jun 2016 at 5:49am
No bird flu in Minnesota this year - KWLM (Willmar Radio)
9 Jun 2016 at 5:49am
Federal egg inspections resume after break for bird flu - TriValley Central
8 Jun 2016 at 1:11am
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8 Jun 2016 at 1:11am