Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Virtual Anatomy: Influenza A virus subtype H5N1

Just what is H5N1? Well in short it's a strain of Avian Flu or Bird Flu as it usually called. Basically there are a lot of flu types that occur in Birds but H5N1 is the one that is probably the most dangerous to human beings. Currently the only way to become infected by it is if you have direct contact with an already infected Bird. Its already killed quite a lot of people, a lot in Asia mostly because of the terrible conditions the birds are kept in and the direct contact street vendors have with them. As far as I know you can't catch it by eating a cooked bird but if you eat its faeces or drink its saliva your probably in a lot of trouble.

The fear is that one day it will be able adapt to travel between humans rather than birds to humans and with a viable vaccine a long way off there is the distinct danger that it could kill millions of people if can adapt. It's currently the disease that's most likely to cause a global pandemic. The last and most devastating was the Spanish Flu out outbreak which killed millions of people.

Just look at it, it looks nasty. Christ.