Outbreak of H5N1 Virus leading to surge death tolls severly

According to the International Health Regulations (IHR) 2005, a human infection caused by a novel influenza A virus subtype is an event that has the potential for high public health impact and must be notified to the WHO.

Outbreak of H5N1 Virus leading to surge death tolls severly

Several countries are slowly witnessing a pandemic outbreak of avian influenza [H5N1] virus which is targeting many human genes and is categorized as 100 times severe than Covid-19 virus.

The World Health Organization (WHO) was notified about a case of human infection with an influenza A(H5N1) virus on 25 March 2024 by the national authorities of Viet Nam. The patient, who had no underlying medical conditions, developed symptoms on 11 March and died on 23 March.

According to the International Health Regulations (IHR) 2005, a human infection caused by a novel influenza A virus subtype is an event that has the potential for high public health impact and must be notified to the WHO. Based on available information, WHO assesses the risk to the general population posed by this virus as low.

Avian influenza virus infections in humans may cause diseases ranging from mild upper respiratory tract infection to more severe diseases and can be fatal. Conjunctivitis, gastrointestinal symptoms, encephalitis and encephalopathy have also been reported. There have also been several detections of A(H5N1) virus in asymptomatic persons who had exposure to infected birds in the days before a sample was collected.

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Most human cases of infection with avian influenza viruses reported to date have been due to exposure to infected poultry or contaminated environments. Human infection can cause severe disease and has a high mortality rate. These A(H5N1) influenza viruses, belonging to different genetic groups, do not easily infect humans, and human-to-human transmission thus far appears unusual.

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There are no specific vaccines for influenza A(H5N1) in humans. However, candidate vaccines have been developed for pandemic preparedness in some countries. The WHO continues to update the list of zoonotic influenza candidate vaccine viruses (CVV), which are selected twice a year at the WHO consultation on influenza virus vaccine composition.

WHO advises against implementing travel or trade restrictions based on the current information available on this event. WHO does not advise special traveler screening at points of entry or other restrictions due to the current situation of influenza viruses at the human-animal interface.

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