Avian influenza update

An occasional snapshot of current facts and trends in medicine.

Quick View. Posted May 1, 2006

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Avian flu infections have been reported in poultry or wild birds in 49 countries in regions including Africa, East Asia and the Pacific, South Asia, the Near East, Eurasia and Europe.

On April 3, the World Health Organization reported that avian influenza A (H5N1) virus infection had been confirmed in four patients in Egypt -- the ninth nation to be placed in this specific category. Of those patients, two died and two fully recovered. A fifth patient, an 18-year-old woman, remains hospitalized, and external diagnostic confirmation of her infection is pending.

To date, most human cases worldwide have resulted from direct or close contact with infected poultry or contaminated surfaces. But rare cases of human-to-human transmission have been observed. In these situations, there has been no evidence of transmission beyond one person.

Overall, since January 2004, the WHO has reported confirmed human cases in nine countries.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, April 3

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