Information presented by PharmPro suggests that ten people have died in Cambodia, Indonesia, Egypt, China and Vietnam since December during the prime-time flu season when the ‘bird flu virus’ (H5N1) typically flares in poultry.
In total, the H5N1 virus has killed 345 people worldwide since 2003. The majority of these deaths have been in Asia. Whilst the number of poultry outbreaks has reduced, he virus remains prevalent in several countries and continues to surface sporadically, and no accounts for 20 to 30 human deaths globally each year.
Bird flu, as an influenza virus, remains difficult for people to contract. Those who have caught the virus have been in very close contact with infected poultry. The big concern of virologists is if the virus were to mutate into a form that could spread easily among people. Such a scenario could cause a global pandemic.