What is the global incidence of avian influenza (H5N1)?

Updated: Apr 23, 2019
  • Author: Hien H Nguyen, MD, MS; Chief Editor: Michael Stuart Bronze, MD  more...
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Answer

No cases of the highly pathogenic H5N1 influenza have been reported in humans or birds in the United States. Frequently updated information on H5N1 avian influenza cases and pandemic flu preparedness is available from the CDC. [24] Two case reports describe humans infected with another avian influenza virus, H7N2, one in Virginia in 2002 and the other in New York in 2003. The patients had no characteristic symptoms, but the first had positive serologic results and the second had mild respiratory symptoms.

As of June 2013, 630 cases of avian influenza had been reported by the World Health Organization (WHO) worldwide, with 375 deaths. [18] Currently, reporting from areas with poor access to health care may be limited to clinically severe cases; illness that does not fulfill WHO diagnostic criteria is not reported. [25]

Most cases have been in eastern Asia; some cases have been reported in Eastern Europe and North Africa (see the image below). Underreporting has been a concern, particularly in China, but the prevailing attitude about the need to suspect, test, and report cases of avian influenza is growing. In 2013, cases were reported in Cambodia, Vietnam, China, Egypt, and Bangladesh.

Countries where avian influenza has been reported. Countries where avian influenza has been reported. Image courtesy of the World Health Organization.

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