Write 9 pages with APA style on H5N1 Avian Virus. Avian Influenza or Bird Flu, as it commonly referred to, is an infection which is caused by the H5N1 virus. The natural hosts of this virus are wild birds, in particular waterfowls, who carry these viruses in their intestines while themselves remaining asymptomatic (Auewaraku 404). The transmission of this virus to domesticated birds such as ducks, chickens, and turkeys, can lead to outbreaks and epidemics of infection amongst these birds, causing a large number of them to be killed (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). Recently, H5N1 virus is not only leading to an increasing number of epizootics but has also been implicated in several epidemics in humans. The mode of transmission of this virus has been described as being feco-oral amongst birds, whereas humans contract the disease via contact with airborne particles from infected poultry or while contact with the poultry or their fecal matter e.g. during food preparation (Fleming 1066).  .The first human infection with H5N1 was witnessed in 1997 in Hong Kong, as a result of which six out of the eighteen people affected died. Ever since several similar outbreaks of human infection have been observed in various regions of the world and this has become an important public health concern (Auewaraku 404). At present, there are two different clades of the H5N1 which have been identified to be circulating amongst poultry. Amongst these, three subgroups from the clade 2 have been shown to infect humans viz. subclades 2.1, 2.2, and 2.3 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).
Infections in humans appear on a spectrum, ranging in variety and severity from relatively milder infections such as conjunctivitis to potentially serious ones such as pneumonia and can even lead to death (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).
The increasing outbreaks of human infection with H5N1 are of prime concern as this organism is highly pathogenic. It has a unique ability to infect humans and this poses a threat to the human race as this virus might have the potential to evolve into a form that is transmissible from person to person (Auewaraku 404). In the past, the world has witnessed several outbreaks of influenza, causing significant morbidity and mortality. If a new strain of this virulent organism emerges, it can lead to potentially catastrophic outbreaks of influenza in biologically naïve human hosts, claiming thousands of human lives. Thereby, it is important to study in detail the structure and molecular and cellular mechanisms of disease and evolution of H5N1 virus, as this would help in planning strategies aimed at keeping a check on the further spread of this organism and in the development of preventive measures such as vaccines to combat any further epidemics of this disease.