Influenza A H5N1
This flu virus is spherical with glycoprotein spikes. The genome has eight RNA fragments.
Currently the identification methods are not always successful. Blood samples are taken and tested using hemagglutination assays which assay the antibodies of Influenza A. This tests can be slow.
- The virus attaches to a cell receptor and enter the cell through endocytosis
- The virus then enters the nucleus of the cell
- In the nucleus, RNA replication takes place
- Next transcription occurs
- Proteins are assembled after translation
- The virus is released through budding to attack other host cells
- Usually do not infect people; birds are the definitive hosts
- Infected birds shed flu virus in their saliva, mucus and feces
- Human infection occurs when people have unprotected contact with infected birds
- Avian influenza A cannot spread between humans, but it is important to be aware of this virus because it could mutate and gain the ability to spread amongst humans
- Avian flu can also spread through pig intermediate hosts
- Avian flu is reported in humans mostly in Asian countries
- The reservoir hosts are wild birds which live near the water such as gulls, terns, and shorebirds
- Domesticated birds can become infected through direct contact with recevoir hosts which then presents a larger threat to humans
Cases have occurred in Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East.