H5N1 avian influenza virus, coloured transmission electron micrograph (TEM). Avian influenza (flu) is usually a disease of birds, but the H5N1 strain has spread to humans, killing around half of those infected. The disease is thought to be caught by inhaling faecal matter from poultry, as the vast majority of deaths have been amongst poultry workers. The disease has spread rapidly among birds from its source in Southeast Asia. There are fears that if a person with human flu contracted the H5N1 strain of avian flu at the same time, the viruses could exchange genes to produce a human flu with the lethal characteristics of the avian flu, which could cause millions of deaths. Magnification: x100,000 when printed 10cm high.
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