Avian flu

Avian flu

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Credit: VICTOR HABBICK VISIONS/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Avian flu. Conceptual computer artwork depicting chickens encased within capsules. Avian flu is a viral disease of poultry. The H5N1 strain of the avian influenza virus first appeared in humans in South-East-Asia in 1997. Between 2003 and 2005 it killed over 60 people. In April 2006 the first case of bird flu was confirmed in the UK. The virus is contracted by close contact with infected birds, although it cannot be contracted by eating meat or eggs. Also, as yet, H5N1 cannot be transferred between humans through the air as human flu viruses can. There are fears that the virus may mutate into a human transmissible form, which could lead to millions of deaths worldwide.

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