Influenza: lessons from past pandemics, warnings from current incidents

Nat Rev Microbiol. 2005 Aug;3(8):591-600. doi: 10.1038/nrmicro1208.


Recent outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza A virus infections (H5 and H7 subtypes) in poultry and in humans (through direct contact with infected birds) have had important economic repercussions and have raised concerns that a new influenza pandemic will occur in the near future. The eradication of pathogenic avian influenza viruses seems to be the most effective way to prevent influenza pandemics, although this strategy has not proven successful so far. Here, we review the molecular factors that contribute to the emergence of pandemic strains.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antiviral Agents / therapeutic use
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Disease Outbreaks / prevention & control*
  • Humans
  • Influenza A virus / pathogenicity*
  • Influenza A virus / physiology
  • Influenza Vaccines / therapeutic use
  • Influenza in Birds / epidemiology*
  • Influenza in Birds / prevention & control
  • Influenza in Birds / virology
  • Influenza, Human / epidemiology*
  • Influenza, Human / prevention & control
  • Influenza, Human / virology
  • Poultry
  • Virulence


  • Antiviral Agents
  • Biomarkers
  • Influenza Vaccines