Avian Flu: Influenza a Virus sample essay

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The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) awarded H5N1 vaccine contracts to Aventis Pasteur (now Sanofi Pasteur) of Swiftwater, Pennsylvania, and to Chiron Corporation of Emeryville, California.

All known viruses that cause influenza in birds belong to the species influenza A virus.

Adaptation is not exclusive. Being adapted towards a particular species does not preclude adaptations, or partial adaptations, towards infecting different species

While its most highly pathogenic strain (H5N1) had been spreading throughout Asia since 2003, avian influenza reached Europe in 2005, and the Middle East, as well as Africa, the following year.[8] On January 22, 2012, China reported its second human death due to bird flu in a month following other fatalities in Vietnam and Cambodia.[9]

There are many subtypes of avian influenza viruses, but only some strains of four subtypes have been highly pathogenic in humans. These are types H5N1, H7N3, H7N7, and H9N2.[10]

once domesticated birds such as chickens or turkeys are infected, it could become much more deadly because the birds are often within close contact of one another. There is currently a large threat of this in Asia with infected poultry due to low hygiene conditions and close quarters . Although it is easy for humans to become infected from birds, it’s much more difficult to do so from human to human without close and lasting contact.

Spreading of H5N1 from Asia to Europe is much more likely caused by both legal and illegal poultry trades than dispersing through wild bird migrations, being that in recent studies, there were no secondary rises in infection in Asia when wild birds migrate south again from their breeding grounds.

Influenza A/H5N1 has evolved into a flu virus strain that infects more species than any previously known strain, is deadlier than any previously known strain, and continues to evolve, becoming both more widespread and more deadly.

Vaccines for poultry have been formulated against several of the avian H5N1 influenza varieties. Vaccination of poultry against the ongoing H5N1 epizootic is widespread in certain countries. Some vaccines also exist for use in humans, and others are in testing, but none have been made available to civilian populations, nor are produced in quantities sufficient to protect more than a tiny fraction of the Earth’s population in the event of an H5N1 pandemic outbreak. The World Health Organization has compiled a list of known clinical trials of pandemic influenza prototype vaccines, including those against H5N1. [edit]

H5N1 has killed millions of poultry in a growing number of countries throughout Asia, Europe and Africa. Health experts are concerned that the coexistence of human flu viruses and avian flu viruses (especially H5N1) will provide an opportunity for genetic material to be exchanged between species-specific viruses, possibly creating a new virulent influenza strain that is easily transmissible and lethal to humans. The mortality rate for humans with H5N1 is 60%.

Since the first H5N1 outbreak occurred in 1987, there has been an increasing number of HPAI H5N1 bird-to-human transmissions, leading to clinically severe and fatal human infections. Because a significant species barrier exists between birds and humans, though, the virus does not easily cross over to humans, though some cases of infection are being researched to discern whether human to human transmission is occurring. Exposure routes and other disease transmission characteristics, such as genetic and immunological factors that may increase the likelihood of infection, are not clearly understood.

Although millions of birds have become infected with the virus since its discovery, 359 humans have died from the H5N1 in twelve countries according to WHO data as of August 10, 2012.

Epidemiologists are afraid the next time such a virus mutates, it could pass from human to human; however, the current A/H5N1 virus does not transmit easily from human to human. If this form of transmission occurs, another pandemic could result. Thus, disease-control centers around the world are making avian flu a top priority. These organizations encourage poultry-related operations to develop a preemptive plan to prevent the spread of H5N1 and its potentially pandemic strains. The recommended plans center on providing protective clothing for workers and isolating flocks to prevent the spread of the virus.

Widespread:

While other H5N1 influenza strains are known, they are significantly different from a current, highly pathogenic H5N1 strain on a genetic level, making the global spread of this new strain unprecedented. The H5N1 strain is a fast-mutating, highly pathogenic avian influenza virus (HPAI) found in multiple bird species. It is both epizootic (an epidemic in non-humans) and panzootic (a disease affecting animals of many species especially over a wide area).

Countries that have reported one or more major highly pathogenic H5N1 outbreaks in birds (causing at least thousands but in some cases millions of dead birds) are (in order of first outbreak occurrence): South Korea, Vietnam, Japan, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Indonesia, China, Malaysia, Russia, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Turkey, Romania, Croatia, Ukraine, Cyprus, Iraq, Nigeria, Egypt, India, France, Niger, Bosnia, Azerbaijan, Albania, Cameroon, Myanmar, Afghanistan, Israel, Pakistan, Jordan, Burkina Faso, Germany, Sudan, Ivory Coast, Djibouti, Hungary, United Kingdom, Kuwait, Bangladesh, Saudi Arabia, Ghana, Czech Republic, Togo, Nepal, Bhutan.

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