Spread of H5N1 influenza in avian populations

Since the current strains of H5N1 influenza emerged in poultry in Southeast Asia, continuous spread to both neighboring and distant countries has been observed. Migratory waterfowl and shorebirds are carriers of avian influenza viruses, and often intermingle with domesticated fowl in open-air farms and markets. Poultry industry and governmental efforts to control the spread of H5N1 in avian populations is critical and often consists of culling large numbers of birds. These efforts have significant economic effects and have been resisted in some locations. Transmission between geographic areas has also occurred due to importation (legal and illegal) of exotic birds

Table 1. Cumulative number of confirmed human cases of avian influenza A/(H5N1) reported to the WHO

Country 2003 2004 2005 2006 Total

Table 1. Cumulative number of confirmed human cases of avian influenza A/(H5N1) reported to the WHO

Country 2003 2004 2005 2006 Total

Cases

Deaths

Cases

Deaths

Cases

Deaths

Cases

Deaths

Cases

Deaths

Azerbaijan

0

0

0

0

0

0

8

5

8

5

Cambodia

0

0

0

0

4

4

2

2

6

6

China

0

0

0

0

8

5

11

7

19

12

Djibouti

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

1

0

Egypt:

0

0

0

0

0

0

14

6

14

6

Indonesia

0

0

0

0

17

11

34

28

51

39

Iraq

0

0

0

0

0

0

2

2

2

2

Thailand

0

0

17

12

5

2

0

0

22

14

Turkey

0

0

0

0

0

0

12

4

12

4

Vietnam

3

3

29

20

61

19

0

0

93

42

Total

3

3

46

32

95

41

84

54

228

130

Source: http://www.who.int/csr/disease/avian_influenza/country/cases_table_2006_06_20/en/ index.html ; accessed 26 June 2006.

Source: http://www.who.int/csr/disease/avian_influenza/country/cases_table_2006_06_20/en/ index.html ; accessed 26 June 2006.

[32]. As of 13 June 2006, influenza A (H5N1) had been reported in migratory birds or poultry flocks in Africa (Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Côte d'Ivoire, Djibouti, Egypt, Niger, Nigeria, and Sudan), Asia (Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Cambodia, China, Georgia, Hong Kong, Kazakhstan, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Iran, Israel, Jordan, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Palestinian Autonomous Territories, Pakistan, Thailand, Turkey, and Vietnam), and Europe (Albania, Austria, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia-Montenegro, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom) [33]. The spread of the virus has been associated with the migration of wild birds from Asia [34], suggesting that apparently healthy birds can carry the virus over long distances [35]. Most experts consider it highly likely that H5N1 viruses will reach North and South America and intense surveillance activity is being conducted in wild bird populations. The spread of human cases closely parallels the spread in birds (Tab. 1).

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