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Friday, July 23, 2010

The influenza A(H5N1) epidemic at six and a half years: 500 notified human cases and more to come

A study published at Eurosurveillance, Volume 15, Issue 29, 22 July 2010, exceprt from a long but informative article :

" Since November 2003, the epidemic intelligence team at the French Institut de Veille Sanitaire has been gathering data on influenza A(H5N1) circulation in poultry and on human cases worldwide. As Indonesia notifies the world’s 500th case to the World Health Organization, we discuss the epidemiological situation and trends of A(H5N1) influenza. Although the overall number of cases reported worldwide has decreased, influenza A(H5N1) continues to circulate intensely in some countries and more cases are to be expected, especially in Egypt and Indonesia.

The international and tropical department of the Institut de Veille Sanitaire (InVS) conducts constant monitoring of health events worldwide to provide French health authorities with timely forewarning of public health events of international concern. This process, known as epidemic intelligence (EI), has been described elsewhere [1]. Although topics vary widely, the situation of highly pathogenic influenza A(H5N1) influenza in the world has constantly been monitored since 2003. This paper describes the epidemiological situation six and a half years into the epidemic, as Indonesian authorities notify the world’s 500th case since November 2003 [2].


From the end of 2003 to 1 July 2010, 63 countries or territories on the Asian, African or European continents (incl. 15 European Union countries) have notified infections by influenza A(H5N1) virus in poultry or wild birds to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) [3]. In 2009, a total of nine countries notified outbreaks in poultry or were considered enzootic by OIE: Bangladesh, Cambodia, China (Tibet and Xinjiang), Egypt, India, Indonesia, Laos, Nepal (first notification) and Vietnam."

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