Wildlife Disease and Zoonotics


Date of this Version



Published in CAST Commentary QTA2006-2 April 2006


In 2003, an outbreak of a highly pathogenic H5N1 strain of avian influenza (AI) in Southeast Asia, notably in Vietnam but also in Thailand, focused extensive local and international media coverage on the disease and its potential human health consequences. The media coverage has followed subsequent AI outbreaks in the People’s Republic of China, the Republic of Korea, and Japan, and westward through Russia into Eastern Europe and the Middle East. Health officials remain on alert because the virus has crossed the species barrier, causing more than 100 human deaths over the last 2 years. Other deaths, most recently in Turkey and the Middle East, have been linked to AI. A recent CAST commentary, Avian Influenza: Human Pandemic Concerns, addresses the human health issues (CAST 2006).