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Avian Influenza Infection in Humans

Updated: Saturday, February 23, 2019 12:06 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.

China reports new bird flu outbreak in Yunnan province - Reuters
22 Feb 2019 at 2:34am
China reports new bird flu outbreak in Yunnan province - Reuters
22 Feb 2019 at 2:34am
Bird flu: NIA urges farmers to seek insurance cover - The Punch
21 Feb 2019 at 6:00pm
Bird flu: NIA urges farmers to seek insurance cover - The Punch
21 Feb 2019 at 6:00pm
FG warns farmers against vaccination of birds with flu - The Eagle Online
21 Feb 2019 at 9:48am
FG warns farmers against vaccination of birds with flu - The Eagle Online
21 Feb 2019 at 9:48am
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21 Feb 2019 at 5:37am
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21 Feb 2019 at 5:37am
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20 Feb 2019 at 3:13pm
No bird flu cases detected - Kuwait Times
20 Feb 2019 at 3:13pm
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20 Feb 2019 at 4:23am
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20 Feb 2019 at 4:23am
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19 Feb 2019 at 11:45am
'Killer cells' could lead to one-time flu vaccine - Futurity: Research News
19 Feb 2019 at 11:45am
Bird flu hits Plateau, 3900 birds dead - Premium Times
19 Feb 2019 at 10:16am
Bird flu hits Plateau, 3900 birds dead - Premium Times
19 Feb 2019 at 10:16am
Bird flu in penguins brought under control - New Era Live
19 Feb 2019 at 12:59am
Bird flu in penguins brought under control - New Era Live
19 Feb 2019 at 12:59am
Bird flu outbreak confirmed in western Taiwan... - Taiwan News
18 Feb 2019 at 8:58pm
Bird flu outbreak confirmed in western Taiwan... - Taiwan News
18 Feb 2019 at 8:58pm
Biologists are trying to make bird flu easier to spread. Can we not? - Vox.com
17 Feb 2019 at 9:00am
Biologists are trying to make bird flu easier to spread. Can we not? - Vox.com
17 Feb 2019 at 9:00am
Bird flu kills 250 penguins on Halifax Island - New Era Live
15 Feb 2019 at 2:57am
Bird flu kills 250 penguins on Halifax Island - New Era Live
15 Feb 2019 at 2:57am
Plan seeks to minimise social, economic impact of bird flu - Viet Nam News
15 Feb 2019 at 1:00am
Plan seeks to minimise social, economic impact of bird flu - Viet Nam News
15 Feb 2019 at 1:00am
Vietnam rolls out plan to prevent, ontrol bird flu for 2019-2025 - Xinhua | E...
14 Feb 2019 at 8:33am
Vietnam rolls out plan to prevent, ontrol bird flu for 2019-2025 - Xinhua | E...
14 Feb 2019 at 8:33am
Morning Break: Where's the Bird Flu? Bugs as Medicine; NYC Nurses Take to Str...
14 Feb 2019 at 7:33am
Morning Break: Where's the Bird Flu? Bugs as Medicine; NYC Nurses Take to Str...
14 Feb 2019 at 7:33am
Namibian government on alert amid bird flu outbreak - African Daily Voice
14 Feb 2019 at 1:00am
Namibian government on alert amid bird flu outbreak - African Daily Voice
14 Feb 2019 at 1:00am
China makes keeping tabs on bird flu difficult - Arizona State University
13 Feb 2019 at 2:23pm
China makes keeping tabs on bird flu difficult - Arizona State University
13 Feb 2019 at 2:23pm
Former CDC leader on bird flu threat: 'We don't know how the story's going to...
13 Feb 2019 at 12:05pm
Former CDC leader on bird flu threat: 'We don't know how the story's going to...
13 Feb 2019 at 12:05pm
What happened to bird flu? How a threat to human health faded from view - STAT
13 Feb 2019 at 1:00am
What happened to bird flu? How a threat to human health faded from view - STAT
13 Feb 2019 at 1:00am
Bird flu shuffle probes viral compatibility - EurekAlert
12 Feb 2019 at 1:11pm
Bird flu shuffle probes viral compatibility - EurekAlert
12 Feb 2019 at 1:11pm