Avian flu and possible human pandemic.Indian Pediatr. 2006 Apr; 43(4):317-25.IP
Avian flu is affecting the poultry animals world over since first outbreak in 1997 in Hong Kong and has resulted in 92 human deaths and culling of more than 150 million poultry animals in Asia and Europe. The loss to the economy has also been enormous. 13 new countries, including India, reported occurrence of the disease in poultry animals in February 2006 only, to the World Health Organisation. This rapid rate of spread of virus along with notoriety of the virus for frequent genetic re-assortment, which might enable H5N1 to infect human beings, threatens of possible influenza pandemic since the last pandemic in 1968. The human influenza caused by this subtype of the virus (H5N1) has high case fatality of 54% and majority of affected humans are between the age of 5 to 23 years. Lack of effective vaccine, poor knowledge about treatment, and with scarcity of public health measures in developing countries are major causes of concern. The real threat of impending pandemic can be avoided only if we act immediately on the basis of currently available source of information and apply scientific knowledge rationally for containment and prevention of bird flu and treat human cases promptly.