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Avian Influenza Infection in Humans

Updated: Monday, June 26, 2017 5:16 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.

Second case of bird flu confirmed in Mpumalanga - Times LIVE
26 Jun 2017 at 10:49am
Second case of bird flu confirmed in Mpumalanga - Times LIVE
26 Jun 2017 at 10:49am
Three Mutations Could Turn Bird Flu Virus Into A Human Pandemic - IFLScience
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Three Mutations Could Turn Bird Flu Virus Into A Human Pandemic - IFLScience
26 Jun 2017 at 9:12am
Govt bans sale of live hens after H5N8 bird flu outbreak - Eyewitness News
26 Jun 2017 at 3:58am
Govt bans sale of live hens after H5N8 bird flu outbreak - Eyewitness News
26 Jun 2017 at 3:58am
South Africa bans sale of live hens to contain bird flu - Reuters
26 Jun 2017 at 2:45am
South Africa bans sale of live hens to contain bird flu - Reuters
26 Jun 2017 at 2:45am
Farmers angered by Defra's response to bird flu outbreaks - FG Insight
25 Jun 2017 at 10:46pm
Farmers angered by Defra's response to bird flu outbreaks - FG Insight
25 Jun 2017 at 10:46pm
Migrating ducks spreading bird flu in SA | The Citizen - Citizen
25 Jun 2017 at 9:35pm
Migrating ducks spreading bird flu in SA | The Citizen - Citizen
25 Jun 2017 at 9:35pm
Vigilance needed over bird flu threat, says DA - News24
25 Jun 2017 at 2:33am
Vigilance needed over bird flu threat, says DA - News24
25 Jun 2017 at 2:33am
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24 Jun 2017 at 4:39pm
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24 Jun 2017 at 4:39pm
Agriculture department bans Mpumalanga 'spent hens' amid bird flu outbreak - ...
24 Jun 2017 at 6:30am
Agriculture department bans Mpumalanga 'spent hens' amid bird flu outbreak - ...
24 Jun 2017 at 6:30am
South Africa Reports Outbreak of Bird Flu - Newsmax
23 Jun 2017 at 6:40am
South Africa Reports Outbreak of Bird Flu - Newsmax
23 Jun 2017 at 6:40am
Bird Flu Breaks Out In Mpumalanga - Huffington Post South Africa (blog)
22 Jun 2017 at 10:19pm
Bird Flu Breaks Out In Mpumalanga - Huffington Post South Africa (blog)
22 Jun 2017 at 10:19pm
Bird flu outbreak confirmed in Mpumalanga - Business Day (registration)
22 Jun 2017 at 1:34pm
Bird flu outbreak confirmed in Mpumalanga - Business Day (registration)
22 Jun 2017 at 1:34pm
South Africa reports outbreak of H5N8 bird flu in Mpumalanga: OIE ... - Reuters
22 Jun 2017 at 8:36am
South Africa reports outbreak of H5N8 bird flu in Mpumalanga: OIE ... - Reuters
22 Jun 2017 at 8:36am
Risk of Cumbrian bird flu outbreaks remains high - News & Star
22 Jun 2017 at 1:06am
Risk of Cumbrian bird flu outbreaks remains high - News & Star
22 Jun 2017 at 1:06am
A bird flu pandemic looms but the US is holding back the fight - New Scientist
20 Jun 2017 at 7:13am
A bird flu pandemic looms but the US is holding back the fight - New Scientist
20 Jun 2017 at 7:13am
Regular testings allowed Luxembourg to react quickly to bird flu outbreak - L...
16 Jun 2017 at 6:08am
Regular testings allowed Luxembourg to react quickly to bird flu outbreak - L...
16 Jun 2017 at 6:08am
China to vaccinate poultry against H7N9 bird flu next month - Reuters
16 Jun 2017 at 3:00am
China to vaccinate poultry against H7N9 bird flu next month - Reuters
16 Jun 2017 at 3:00am
A Few Genetic Tweaks To Chinese Bird Flu Virus Could Fuel A Human Pandemic - NPR
15 Jun 2017 at 11:44am
A Few Genetic Tweaks To Chinese Bird Flu Virus Could Fuel A Human Pandemic - NPR
15 Jun 2017 at 11:44am
Irvine's loses millions to bird flu - DailyNews
13 Jun 2017 at 3:08am
Irvine's loses millions to bird flu - DailyNews
13 Jun 2017 at 3:08am
Ducks carrying bird flu cause a flap in SA - Citizen
12 Jun 2017 at 8:43pm
Ducks carrying bird flu cause a flap in SA - Citizen
12 Jun 2017 at 8:43pm