Possibility of a Future Avian Flu Pandemic Essay example

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Possibility of a Future Avian Flu Pandemic

Influenza is a dangerous virus and highly contagious that has potential to devastate populations should an outbreak occur. A common influenza virus that humans are familiar with is the human influenza. Researchers and scientists are concerned about an especially threatening strain of influenza virus called H5N1, commonly known as the avian flu. Although this flu is mainly susceptible to wild birds, there have been outbreaks that show that humans also become infected. Predictions that the H5N1 strain may lead to a global pandemic are fueling further research of the virus. Studies show that although this virus is currently under control, it is possible that it could mutate and become a worldwide
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Of the three influenza types, the Avian Flu seems to pose the greatest threat for a devastating pandemic due to its deadly characteristics. (Paul T ambyah- pg 13)
As stated in its name, Avian Flu and is usually found in domestic and wild birds. This disease can be transmitted to humans, but in generally transmitted from bird-to- bird. ?Human Influenza is transmitted by the inhalation of airborne secretions and the infectious respiratory droplets (invisible to the naked eye) released by infected individuals as they breathe?. (Paul T ambyah -pg7) On the other hand the bird flu is transmitted to humans usually through infected poultry. Humans exposed to the Avian Flu virus H5N1 were noticed in Hong Kong in 1997 through an outbreak. This outbreak was associated with poultry that then caused 160 humans infections and 80 deaths. The poultry caused this outbreak because human were handling infected meat. The Avian flu is highly contagious and not only infects birds it also infects some other animals too. Some animals are naturally unsusceptible to the avian virus such as some sea animals, this allows them to carry the disease and pass it on without showing any symptoms. This poses a potential problem since it will be exceedingly difficult to determine which animals are disease carriers from those who are not.
The anatomy of theH5N1 strain is as follows: ?The upper most layer of an influenza virus particle, referred to as the envelope, comprises of three

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