Medical Microbiology and Immunology

, Volume 196, Issue 4, pp 181–190

The threat of avian influenza A (H5N1). Part I: epidemiologic concerns and virulence determinants


DOI: 10.1007/s00430-007-0042-5

Cite this article as:
Cinatl, J., Michaelis, M. & Doerr, H.W. Med Microbiol Immunol (2007) 196: 181. doi:10.1007/s00430-007-0042-5


Among emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases, influenza constitutes one of the major threats to mankind. In this review series epidemiologic, virologic and pathologic concerns raised by infections of humans with avian influenza virus A/H5N1 are discussed. This first part concentrates on epidemiologic concerns and virulence determinants. H5N1 spread over the world and caused a series of fowl pest outbreaks. Significant human-to-human transmissions have not been observed yet. Mutations that make the virus more compatible with human-to-human transmission may occur at any time. Nevertheless, no one can currently predict with certainty whether H5N1 will become a human pandemic virus.

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for Medical VirologyHospital of the Johann Wolfgang Goethe UniversityFrankfurt/MGermany

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