Avian influenza--a pandemic waiting to happen?

J Microbiol Immunol Infect. 2006 Feb;39(1):4-10.


Cross-species transmission of a highly pathogenic subtype of influenza A virus directly from birds to humans has raised many concerns. The radical methods of immune evasion and the possibility of human-to-human transmission as a result of gene reassortment between the human and avian viral subtypes pose an imminent threat of a global pandemic. The growing reservoir of circulating influenza among the bird population and the perpetuating human demographic factors promote the emergence of a novel viral strain. This article discusses current methods of identifying and treating the illness in individuals, and outlines principles of public health measures for preventing and containing an influenza pandemic.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Child
  • Communicable Disease Control
  • Disease Outbreaks / prevention & control*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Influenza A Virus, H5N1 Subtype*
  • Influenza in Birds / epidemiology*
  • Influenza in Birds / prevention & control
  • Influenza in Birds / transmission
  • Influenza in Birds / virology
  • Influenza, Human / epidemiology*
  • Influenza, Human / prevention & control
  • Influenza, Human / transmission
  • Influenza, Human / virology
  • Poultry / virology
  • Poultry Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Poultry Diseases / prevention & control
  • Poultry Diseases / transmission
  • Poultry Diseases / virology
  • Public Health
  • Reassortant Viruses