VICTOR HABBICK VISIONS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY VICTOR HABBICK VISIONS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Avian flu virus particles, computer artwork. The H5N1 strain of avian flu first appeared in humans in Southeast Asia in 1997. Between 2003 and 2005 it killed over 60 people. It is contracted through close contact with infected birds, although it cannot be transmitted between humans in the air, in the way that human influenza can. There are fears that it may mutate into a form that can be spread between humans, which could cause millions of deaths worldwide. Research is underway to try to develop a vaccine and treatments in case of a pandemic.
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