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Curr Allergy Asthma Rep. 2006 Mar;6(2):163-70.

Avian influenza.


The current epidemic of H5N1 highly pathogenic avian influenza in Southeast Asia raises serious concerns that genetic reassortment will result in the next influenza pandemic. There have been 164 confirmed cases of human infection with avian influenza since 1996. In 2004 alone, there were 45 cases of human H5N1 in Vietnam and Thailand, with a mortality rate over 70%. In addition to the potential public health hazard, the current zoonotic epidemic has caused severe economic losses. Efforts must be concentrated on early detection of bird outbreaks with aggressive culling, quarantines, and disinfection. To prepare for and prevent increased human cases, it is essential to improve detection methods and stockpile effective antivirals. Novel therapeutic modalities, including short, interfering RNAs and new vaccine strategies that use plasmid-based genetic systems offer promise, should a pandemic occur.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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