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J Microbiol Immunol Infect. 2006 Feb;39(1):4-10.

Avian influenza--a pandemic waiting to happen?

Author information

  • Nuffield Department of Surgery, John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford Radcliffe Hospital NHS Trust and Oxford Medical School, Oxford, United Kingdom. jpbenliu@doctors.org.uk

Abstract

Cross-species transmission of a highly pathogenic subtype of influenza A virus directly from birds to humans has raised many concerns. The radical methods of immune evasion and the possibility of human-to-human transmission as a result of gene reassortment between the human and avian viral subtypes pose an imminent threat of a global pandemic. The growing reservoir of circulating influenza among the bird population and the perpetuating human demographic factors promote the emergence of a novel viral strain. This article discusses current methods of identifying and treating the illness in individuals, and outlines principles of public health measures for preventing and containing an influenza pandemic.

PMID:
16440117
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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