The H5N1 strain of bird flu virus is what scientists expect to be the next big worldwide pandemic to hit. What are scaring them more are the deadly effects it has had on some of the few human victims it has so far affected.
The H5N1 strain has so far hit a handful people in various areas of the world. The affected people were those that came in contact with infected birds. This article shows us the global affect of the H5N1 strain so far.
The H5N1 strain attracted very little attention way back in 1997 at Guang Dong China. This is because it had affected very few geese and poultry at the time.
The first case of infected humans was reported on 1997 at Hong Kong. 6 of the 17 people infected died.
It once reemerged on 2003 at Vietnam infecting three people. All of which died.
The outbreak became more prevalent during January 2004, affecting 10 Asian countries. It started out in Vietnam and Thailand, eventually finding its way to South Korea, Indonesia, Japan and China. Over 40 million domesticated birds were slaughtered to prevent affecting humans. During this time 23 people from Vietnam and Thailand died.
On July 2004 fresh outbreaks once again happened at China and Thailand.
During august 2004, Singapore banned poultry from Malaysia because a place in their country was infected again. The EU also banned all poultry products from Malaysia.
During October 2004, scientist discovered that the H5N1 strain is deadlier than once believed. They found out that the mortality rate of those infected is around 100%.
November 2004 a team was created to further study the effects it could cause on humans. The project was called the Influenza Genome Sequencing Project.
January 2005, nearly 1.2 million poultry were killed at Vietnam because 33 out 64 cities and provinces have been hit by the H5N1 strain. The number of birds that died ranged up to 140 million.
Cambodia is hit with the first human bird flu victim, making surveillance at the country stricter.
There have been isolated cases of human to human transfer on Vietnam and Thailand during the period of March 2005.
Eight more people have been detected infected on April 2005 at Vietnam.
On May 2005, reports were given that 97 people were infected, 53 of whom died at Vietnam, Thailand and Cambodia. Vietnam being the country most hit with 76 infected and 37 deaths.
The first infected victim was reported on Indonesia on July 2005 and 2 more died at Vietnam.
The virus later spread during August 2005 reaching Kazakhstan, Mongolia and western Russia. During this period 38 people died at China from a swine virus. Making officials from WHO worried. This is because pigs are great breeding grounds for bird flu virus as well.
September 2005 David Nabarro informed people that the outbreak of the H5N1 could kill 5 to 150 million people. He also said that the outbreak could start in Africa or the Middle East. As of yesterday, H5N1 has been found on Africa.
As of October and November 2005 the H5N1 strain has been found at Turkey and Kuwait respectively.
China reports its third death from the bird flu on December 2005.
The spread of the H5N1 strain as of now may seem slow. But we should really be thankful that this virus is not yet becoming a pandemic. Because in reality the world is not yet ready.