Strengthening Pandemic-Influenza Preparedness and Response, Including Application of the International Health Regulations (2005): Report by the Secretariat   [open pdf - 40KB]

"Beginning in mid-2003, eight countries in south-east Asia experienced the largest and most severe outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza in poultry on record. The causative agent, the H5N1 strain of Influenzavirus A, has since become endemic in domestic birds in several of the initially affected countries. 2. From July 2005 to the end of the year, the virus expanded its geographical presence in birds beyond the initial focus in Asia. Countries reporting their first outbreaks, in both wild and domestic birds, included (in order of reporting) the Russian Federation, Kazakhstan, Turkey, Romania and Ukraine. Croatia and Mongolia reported detection of the virus in wild birds only. 3. Beginning in February 2006, the geographical presence of the virus in birds expanded again, this time dramatically: between then and early April 2006, 32 countries, located in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Middle East, had reported their first cases of infection in wild or domestic birds, or both. This development marks the fastest and most extensive geographical spread of any highly pathogenic avian influenza virus recorded since the disease was first described in 1878. The virus has now affected poultry in some of the world's most densely populated and impoverished areas poorly served by systems for health care and disease surveillance. This situation increases the likelihood that human cases may not be detected promptly or at all, thus weakening the early warning system that signals the need to intensify pandemic preparedness or launch an effort to contain an emerging pandemic virus."

2006 World Health Organization. All rights reserved.
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