Avian (Bird) Flu

There has been concern throughout the world regarding Avian (Bird) Flu transmission to humans. This concern results from the knowledge that when a disease "jumps species" it is usually more virulent or fatal than most other diseases. This type of transmission has occurred from the Influenza A subtype H5N1since 1997 in Hong Kong. Since that time, there have been cases of transmission from birds to humans in countries such as South Korea, Taiwan, China and Vietnam. There have been no such transmissions from birds to humans in the United States.

Efforts to contain this strain have been very successful in the countries where transmission has occurred. Typically the flocks identified with the strain are terminated or "culled" and quarantine imposed on other flocks. Also, person-to-person transmission has not been positively documented.

In the United States this year, Avian Flu outbreaks have occurred with the Influenza A subtype (H7N2) in several states. To date, no human transmission has been documented with this subtype. The same methods of control mention above are used in the United States to prevent transmission to humans once an outbreak has been identified.

In summary, Avian (Bird) Flu outbreaks have resulted in H5N1 subtype of Influenza A transmission to humans in other countries. To date, no human cases of Avian (Bird) Flu transmission have been identified in the United States.

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