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Bird Flu rears its head again

Transmission electron micrograph of H5N1 avian influenza virus particles
Transmission electron micrograph of H5N1 avian influenza virus particles

In the upcoming movie, “Contagion”, the characters follow the rapid progress of a lethal airborne influenza virus that kills within days. As the fast-moving epidemic grows, the worldwide medical community races to find a cure and control the panic that spreads faster than the virus itself. At the same time, ordinary people struggle to survive in a society coming apart. This may be an extraodinary example of “life imitating art”. Worldwide, there have been renewed concerns about avian flu. Bird flu was in decline, but health officials warned recently that it appears to be on the rise again.

 

Poster of movie Contagion Released on September 9th 2011
Poster of movie Contagion Released on September 9th 2011

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations urged heightened readiness and surveillance against a possible major resurgence of the H5N1 Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza amid signs that a mutant strain of the deadly Bird Flu virus is spreading in Asia and beyond, with unpredictable risks to human health.

 

The H5N1 virus has infected 565 people since it first appeared in 2003, killing 331 of them, according to WHO figures. The latest death occurred earlier this month in Cambodia, which has registered eight cases of human infection this year - all of them fatal.

 

Since 2003 H5N1 has killed or forced the culling of more than 400 million domestic poultry and caused an estimated $20 billion of economic damage across the globe before it was eliminated from most of the 63 countries infected at its peak in 2006.

 

chickens in a coop

However, the virus remained endemic in six nations, although the number of outbreaks in domestic poultry and wild bird populations shrank steadily from an annual peak of 4000 to just 302 in mid 2008. But outbreaks have risen progressively since, with almost 800 cases recorded in 2010-2011.

 

The Virus is spread in both poultry and wild birds. 2008 marked the beginning of renewed geographic expansion of the H5N1 virus both in poultry and wild birds. The advance appears to be associated with migratory bird movements, according to FAO Chief Veterinary Officer Juan Lubroth. He said migrations help the virus travel over long distances, so that H5N1 has in the past 24 months shown up in poultry or wild birds in countries that had been virus-free for several years.

 

For more information on avian flu, check out:
http://www.fao.org/avianflu/en/index.html
http://www.flu.gov/individualfamily/about/h5n1/index.html
http://www.grain.org/article/entries/22-fowl-play-the-poultry-industry-s-central-role-in-the-bird-flu-crisis>

 

For an earlier United States Biological newsletter on Influenza, see:
http://www.usbio.net/misc/newsletter050109


H5N1 Products

Catalog #

Product Name

Type

Host

Source

I7649-40 Influenza A, Avian, H5N1, Hemagglutinin (HA) (IN) (Bird Flu) Pab Rb  
I7649-40B Influenza A, Avian, H5N1, Hemagglutinin (HA) (Bird Flu) Mab Mo  
I7649-40B2 Influenza A, Avian, H5N1, Hemagglutinin (HA) (Bird Flu) Mab Mo  
I7649-40B4 Influenza A, Avian, H5N1, Hemagglutinin (HA) (IN) (Bird Flu Mab Mo  
I7649-40B5 Influenza A, Avian, H5N1, Hemagglutinin (HA) (IN) (Bird Flu) Mab Mo  
I7649-40B6 Influenza A, Avian, H5N1, Hemagglutinin (HA) (IN) (Bird Flu) Pab Gt  
I7649-40B7 Influenza A, Avian, H5N1, Hemagglutinin (HA) (IN) (Bird Flu) Pab Rb  
I7649-40C Influenza A, Avian, H5N1, Hemagglutinin (HA) (Bird Flu) Mab Mo  
I7649-40D Influenza A, Avian, H5N1, Hemagglutinin (HA) (IN) (Bird Flu) Pab Gt  
I7649-40E Influenza A, Avian, H5N1, Hemagglutinin (HA) (Bird Flu) Mab Mo  
I7649-40F Influenza A, Avian, H5N1, Hemagglutinin (HA) (IN) (Bird Flu) Pab Gt  
I7649-40M Influenza A, Avian, H5N1, Matrix Protein 1 (M1) Pab Rb  
I7649-40N Influenza A, Avian, H5N1, Nucleoprotein (NP) Pab Rb  
I7649-40P Influenza A, Avian, H5N1, Nucleoprotein (NP) Pab Rb  
I7649-40W Influenza A, Avian, H5N1, Hemagglutinin (HA) (Bird Flu) Mab Mo  
I7649-40Y Influenza A, Avian, H5N1, Hemagglutinin (HA) (Bird Flu) Mab Mo  
I7649-41 Influenza A, Avian, H5N1, Hemagglutinin (HA) (NT) (Bird Flu) Pab Rb  
I7649-41B Influenza A Hemagglutinin H5 (Avian H5N1) Mab Mo  
I7649-41D Influenza A, Avian, H5N1, Hemagglutinin (HA) (NT) (Bird Flu) Pab Rb  
I7649-41E Influenza A, Avian, H5N1, Hemagglutinin (HA) (NT) (Bird Flu) Pab Gt  
I7649-48 Influenza A, Avian, H5N1, Neuraminidase (NA) (IN) (Bird Flu) Pab Rb  
I7649-48B Influenza A, Avian, H5N1, Neuraminidase (NA) (IN) (Bird Flu) Pab Rb  
I7649-49 Influenza A, Avian, CT, H5N1, Neuraminidase (NA) (Bird Flu) Pab Rb  
I7649-49B Influenza A, Avian, H5N1, Neuraminidase (CT) (NA) (Bird Flu) Pab Rb  
I7649-52 Influenza A H5N1 (Avian) Nonstructural Protein 1 (NS1) Pab Rb  
I7649-52A Influenza A H5N1 (Avian) Nonstructural Protein 1 (NS1) Mab Mo  
I7649-52B Influenza A H5N1 (Avian) Nonstructural Protein 1 (NS1) Mab Mo  
I7649-54 Influenza A H5N1 (Avian) Nonstructural Protein 2 (NS2) Pab Rb  
I7649-55A Influenza A, Avian, H5N1, Hemagglutinin (HA) (IN) (Bird Flu) Mab Mo Hu
I7649-55B Influenza A, Avian, H5N1, Hemagglutinin (HA) (IN) (Bird Flu) Mab Mo  
I7649-55C Influenza A, Avian, H5N1, Hemagglutinin (HA) (IN) (Bird Flu) Mab Mo Hu
I7650-04A Influenza A, H1N1, H2N2, H3N2, H5N1 Nucleoprotein Mab Mo