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The current epidemic of H5N1 highly pathogenic avian influenza in Southeast Asia raises serious concerns that genetic reassortment will result in the next influenza pandemic. There have been 164 confirmed cases of human infection with avian influenza since 1996. In 2004, there were 45 cases of human H5N1 in Vietnam and Thailand, with a mortality rate more than 70%. In addition to the potential public health hazard, the current zoonotic epidemic has caused severe economic losses. Efforts must be concentrated on early detection of bird outbreaks with aggressive culling, quarantining, and disinfection. To prepare for and prevent an increase in human cases, it is essential to improve detection methods and stockpile effective antivirals. Novel therapeutic modalities, including short-interfering RNAs and new vaccine strategies that use plasmid-based genetic systems, offer promise should a pandemic occur.
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- Avian Influenza
Current Infectious Disease Reports
Volume 7, Issue 3 , pp 193-199
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