Tuesday, January 10, 2006


A timeline of how the H5N1 virus, or Bird Flu, or Avian Influenza, spread across the planet.

May 1997: A three-year-old boy becomes the first of six people to die in Hong Kong of a mysterious virus, later identified as H5N1.

Feb 2003: A nine-year old boy returns to Hong Kong after contracting bird flu during a trip to Fujian province in southern China. The United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) says that one of his sisters died of the disease.

Dec 2003: South Korea confirms an outbreak of the virus and slaughters more than 2.5 million chickens and ducks in a bid to halt the outbreak. A five-year-old boy recovers from the disease in Hong Kong after apparently contracting it in China.

Jan 2004: Vietnam says the number of human deaths on its territory has risen to 13. H5N1 outbreaks are reported in Laos, Cambodia, Indonesia, Japan, China, Pakistan and Thailand.

Feb 2004: The first cases are confirmed in the United States and Canada while in Thailand the virus is detected in a panther, a tiger and domestic cats. - Aug 2004: Three new deaths are confirmed in Vietnam and an outbreak reported in Malaysia.

Jan 2005: First fatal human case reported in Cambodia. Three more will follow.

March 2005: North Korea announces it is affected by the disease.

July 2005: First fatalities announced in Indonesia.

Aug 2005: Confirmation that the disease has spread to Kazakhstan, Mongolia and the vast Russian region of Siberia.

Oct 7: Ducks in the Danube delta in Romania are found to be infected with H5N1.

Oct 13: An infection which has killed thousands of turkeys in north-western Turkey is confirmed as H5N1.

Oct 19: Russia, China and Romania confirm new outbreaks of H5N1 bird flu.

Oct 20: Thailand reports its first human death from bird flu in a year.

Oct 21: Britain says a parrot that died in quarantine had bird flu, while Croatia confirms the virus was found in 12 swans found dead in a lake.

Oct 25: China confirms another outbreak.

Oct 31: Canada says the H5 virus, a different strain, has been found in wild migratory birds.

Nov 8: Vietnam reports its 42nd bird flu death.

Nov 11: Kuwait discovers the H5N1 strain in a flamingo. Thailand reports a new human case.

Nov 15: Britain says 53 birds from Taiwan have died from H5N1 in a quarantine center.

Nov 16: China confirms two human cases of bird flu, one fatal.

Dec 9: A five-year-old boy becomes Thailand's 14th bird flu death.

Dec 17: A British lab confirms the presence of H5N1 in the Crimea region of Ukraine.

Dec 22: Romania reports its 21st outbreak amongst poultry. Indonesia's human toll rises to 11.

Dec 29: China announces its seventh human case of bird flu and its third fatality.

Jan 4, 2006: A 14-year-old Turkish boy is confirmed as the first person in the country -- and the first known anywhere outside Asia -- to have died from human bird flu. His sister dies the following day.

Jan 10: Turkish officials say a total of 13 people are ill with bird flu caused by the H5N1 virus strain, plus the two who have died.

Jan 11: WHO officials say two more people died of bird flu in China in December, and an infected boy remains critically ill.The Turkish agriculture ministry says there are outbreaks of flu in birds in 15 out of the country's 81 provinces, but an AFP count puts the number at 23 provinces.United Nations animal experts say the H5N1 strain of bird flu could become endemic in Turkey, and pose a serious risk to neighbouring countries.

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