Policy ForumPublic Health and BIosecurity

Restricted Data on Influenza H5N1 Virus Transmission

Science  10 Feb 2012:
Vol. 335, Issue 6069, pp. 662-663
DOI: 10.1126/science.1218376

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Summary

Since its first detection in 1997, highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5N1 virus has devastated the poultry industry of numerous countries of the Eastern Hemisphere. As of January 2012, HPAI H5N1 virus caused 577 laboratory-confirmed human cases of infection, of which 340 were fatal. Sustained human-to-human transmission has not been reported. Whether this virus may acquire the ability to be transmitted via aerosols and cause a future pandemic has been a matter of intense debate in the influenza field and in public health research communities.