RUSSELL KIGHTLEY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY RUSSELL KIGHTLEY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
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Avian influenza infection. Computer artwork of an immune storm reaction to an avian influenza (flu) H5N1 infection. The avian flu viruses (green) are inhaled and enter the lungs (olive green) where they are detected by the body's immune system. The H5N1 strain of the virus induces a very strong immune reaction, or an immune storm, resulting in 10 times the normal amount of inflammatory immune proteins (cytokines) entering the lung tissue. The cytokines inflame the airways, leading to breathing difficulties and in some cases fatal acute respiratory distress. This immune response is thought to be responsible for the infection killing otherwise fit and healthy young individuals.
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