– Since the beginning of January, 2006, more than 30 countries have reported outbreaks, in most cases involving wild birds such as swans.
– The virus has killed 113 people since 2003 in nine countries and territories, according to the WHO. Countries with confirmed human cases are: Azerbaijan, Cambodia, China, Egypt, Indonesia, Iraq, Thailand, Turkey and Vietnam.
– In total, the virus is known to have infected 204 people since 2003, according to the WHO. Many of those who have died are children and young adults.
– The H5N1 virus is not new to science and was responsible for an outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza in Scotland in 1959. Britain confirmed a new case in Scotland on April 6.
– Nor is H5N1 the only bird flu virus. There are numerous strains. For example, an outbreak in 2003 of the H7N7 bird flu virus in the Netherlands led to the destruction of more than 30 million birds — a quarter of the country’s poultry stock. About 2.7 million were destroyed in Belgium, and around 400,000 in Germany. In the Netherlands, 89 people were infected with the H7N7 virus, of whom one (a veterinarian) died.
– Symptoms of bird flu in humans have ranged from typical influenza-like symptoms, such as fever, cough, sore throat and muscle aches, to eye inflammations (conjunctivitis), pneumonia, acute respiratory distress, viral pneumonia, and other severe and life-threatening complications.