Avian influenza--a pandemic waiting to happen?J Microbiol Immunol Infect 2006; 39(1):4-10JM
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.