Foreign Countries’ Response to the Avian Influenza (H5N1) Virus: Current Status Page: 4 of 15
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Foreign Countries' Response to the Avian
Influenza (H5N1) Virus: Current Status
A strain of the avian influenza virus known as H5N1 first appeared in birds and
humans in Hong Kong in 1997. Since re-surfacing in late 2003, the virus has spread
throughout Asia and caused over 165 reported human deaths from Vietnam to Egypt
while appearing in birds in Africa and Europe. Although media coverage of the virus
abated significantly in 2006, both the number of cases (116 in 2006 versus 97 in
2005) and deaths (80 in 2006 versus 42 in 2005) accelerated. The H5N1 virus has
been confirmed in humans in ten countries, with an overall mortality rate of about
60%.1 The virus disproportionately affects children and young adults. Although
avian influenza is still considered to be extremely inefficient in human-to-human
transmission, there have been cases of limited human-to-human transmission in
Indonesia. Some health authorities continue to stress that H5N1 has the potential to
cause a major human pandemic. In January 2007, the World Health Organization
(WHO) warned that avian influenza could again spread across Asia to Europe in
Birds, mostly domestic poultry, remain the primary source of human infection.
Confirmed cases of H5N1 infection in birds have appeared in over 50 countries,
including new outbreaks in East Asia, Central Asia, the Middle East, and Europe in
early 2007.3 In some countries, the virus is considered endemic, meaning that avian
influenza is an ongoing risk to humans in the area.
U.S. Funding for International Avian Flu Control Efforts4
Congress has provided funds for U.S. international avian flu efforts through
three appropriations. P.L.109-13, FY2005 Emergency Supplemental Appropriations,
provided $25 million to combat the spread of avian influenza. The act also permitted
the Secretary of State to transfer up to $656 million for U.S. avian flu initiatives.
Ultimately, $6.3 million was transferred to USAID for those purposes, providing a
1 According to the WHO, as of January 22, 2007. [http://www.who.int/csr/disease/
2 "Europe Warned Over Seasonal Resurgence of Deadly Bird Flu," Financial Times. January
3 For a full list of countries with confirmed cases of infection in birds, see
4 See CRS Report RL33219, U.S. and International Responses to the Global Spread of
Avian Flu: Issues for Congress by Tiaji Salaam-Blyther.
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Foreign Countries’ Response to the Avian Influenza (H5N1) Virus: Current Status, report, March 1, 2007; Washington D.C.. (https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc812167/m1/4/: accessed April 26, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, https://digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.