Thursday, August 23, 2007

Charting The Spread Of H5N1 Around The World

The BBC News site has published a series of thorough maps showing the state of the world as far as outbreaks and spread of the H5N1 virus goes. It's a couple of weeks out of date, but it's the most detailed we've come across so far.

The text which goes with these maps and chart from BBC News :

Much of the globe has now been hit by the lethal strain of bird flu that is fast becoming a major avian killer around the world.

Millions of birds have died or been destroyed as a result of outbreaks in dozens of countries since the H5N1 strain emerged in South-East Asia in 2003, before spreading to Europe and Africa.

The number of cases among humans is also rising - by the end of 2006 the number of human deaths from the disease had more than doubled in a year, with a noticeably higher mortality rate of almost 60%.

And by the following spring, the 300th human case was confirmed.

The first human deaths from H5N1 outside Asia, in January 2006, heightened concern about the spread of the disease, but the World Health Organization pointed out that the deaths, in Turkey, were among people who had been in close contact with infected birds, and were not passed from human to human.

And although a cluster of deaths in Indonesia in May sparked renewed fears about transmission between humans, the WHO maintains there is no evidence of sustained spread from person to person, and scientists do not believe it is mutating into a version that spreads more easily among humans.

In June 2007 Indonesia became the first country to have 100 confirmed cases of H5N1 among humans.

The main concern is that each new human case increases the chances of the feared "human" mutation.

The first outbreaks in the European Union were recorded in January 2006 when cases were confirmed in wild swans in Italy, Greece, Germany and Austria.

Within weeks, cases were confirmed in Slovenia, Slovakia, Hungary, and France, where mass vaccination of ducks and geese on farms was carried out.

At the end of February, the first case involving a cat in Europe was discovered on the German island where a number of wild birds died from the disease earlier in the month.

And in mid-March, human deaths were confirmed in Azerbaijan, where what is believed to be the first canine case was also diagnosed, in a stray dog.

The first case in the UK was confirmed on 6 April, 2006, in a swan found dead on the eastern coast of Scotland.

1 comment:

David Wolfe said...

This is a great post! I love the charts. Everyone needs to stay informed on this subject, and blogs are a good way to do just that.

Bird Flu (H5N1) Daily