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Avian Influenza Infection in Humans

Updated: Monday, April 24, 2017 1:56 PM 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.

Iran reports H5N1 bird flu outbreak in northern part of country: OIE - Reuters
24 Apr 2017 at 5:38am
Iran reports H5N1 bird flu outbreak in northern part of country: OIE - Reuters
24 Apr 2017 at 5:38am
Avian flu restrictions at wildlife park gave the birds another type of fever....
24 Apr 2017 at 2:30am
Avian flu restrictions at wildlife park gave the birds another type of fever....
24 Apr 2017 at 2:30am
As Bird Flu Strengthens In China, Midwest Farmers Prepare For The ... - KCUR
24 Apr 2017 at 1:21am
As Bird Flu Strengthens In China, Midwest Farmers Prepare For The ... - KCUR
24 Apr 2017 at 1:21am
Congress, WHO sound the alarm over pandemic bird flu or avian flu ... - Washi...
21 Apr 2017 at 8:07am
Congress, WHO sound the alarm over pandemic bird flu or avian flu ... - Washi...
21 Apr 2017 at 8:07am
No more bird-flu risk in Netherlands; poultry allowed outside again - NL Times
20 Apr 2017 at 8:36am
No more bird-flu risk in Netherlands; poultry allowed outside again - NL Times
20 Apr 2017 at 8:36am
Georgia ends bird flu restrictions for producers - Atlanta Journal Constitution
19 Apr 2017 at 2:28pm
Georgia ends bird flu restrictions for producers - Atlanta Journal Constitution
19 Apr 2017 at 2:28pm
South Korea to keep importing eggs despite bird flu downgrade - WHTC
19 Apr 2017 at 12:18am
South Korea to keep importing eggs despite bird flu downgrade - WHTC
19 Apr 2017 at 12:18am
South Korea to downgrade bird flu alert status from highest level - Reuters
17 Apr 2017 at 10:45pm
South Korea to downgrade bird flu alert status from highest level - Reuters
17 Apr 2017 at 10:45pm
Bird flu redirects trade of U.S. goods - Toledo Blade
17 Apr 2017 at 9:03pm
Bird flu redirects trade of U.S. goods - Toledo Blade
17 Apr 2017 at 9:03pm
Bird flu measures could be lifted this week - Jersey Evening Post
17 Apr 2017 at 1:56am
Bird flu measures could be lifted this week - Jersey Evening Post
17 Apr 2017 at 1:56am
Welcome Easter present for East Anglian free range egg producers hit by restr...
15 Apr 2017 at 10:10pm
Welcome Easter present for East Anglian free range egg producers hit by restr...
15 Apr 2017 at 10:10pm
Free-range egg producer welcomes lifting of bird flu restrictions in time for...
14 Apr 2017 at 2:03am
Free-range egg producer welcomes lifting of bird flu restrictions in time for...
14 Apr 2017 at 2:03am
Outdoor return for hens as bird flu fears fade - BBC News
13 Apr 2017 at 4:08pm
Outdoor return for hens as bird flu fears fade - BBC News
13 Apr 2017 at 4:08pm
Spread of bird flu checked in Alabama, so far - Montgomery Advertiser
13 Apr 2017 at 1:17pm
Spread of bird flu checked in Alabama, so far - Montgomery Advertiser
13 Apr 2017 at 1:17pm
Bird flu: What is it, exactly? - Agri News
13 Apr 2017 at 12:10pm
Bird flu: What is it, exactly? - Agri News
13 Apr 2017 at 12:10pm
Wyre farmer says her hens are 'scared stiff' after bird flu captivity - Lanca...
13 Apr 2017 at 6:39am
Wyre farmer says her hens are 'scared stiff' after bird flu captivity - Lanca...
13 Apr 2017 at 6:39am
Virulent bird flu strain threatens to spill out of China - SciDev.Net
13 Apr 2017 at 5:36am
Virulent bird flu strain threatens to spill out of China - SciDev.Net
13 Apr 2017 at 5:36am
State Vet: Bird flu in Middle TN did not spread - WBIR-TV
12 Apr 2017 at 5:21pm
State Vet: Bird flu in Middle TN did not spread - WBIR-TV
12 Apr 2017 at 5:21pm
China's H7N9 bird flu death toll at 47 in March: government data - Reuters
11 Apr 2017 at 11:41pm
China's H7N9 bird flu death toll at 47 in March: government data - Reuters
11 Apr 2017 at 11:41pm
NEWSFLASH: Bird Flu restrictions lifted for Melton poultry owners - Melton Times
11 Apr 2017 at 9:58am
NEWSFLASH: Bird Flu restrictions lifted for Melton poultry owners - Melton Times
11 Apr 2017 at 9:58am