The number of humans confirmed killed by the bird flu strain called H5N1 topped 100 today, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
The organization reported five deaths in Azerbaijan. The most deaths, 42, have occurred in Vietnam followed by 22 in Indonesia. [Table]
There have been no confirmed human deaths in the West from the avian flu. Millions of birds in several countries have been slaughtered in mounting efforts to contain the virus. It has nonetheless spread from its roots in Asia to the Middle East, Europe and Africa and could arrive in the United States this year, officials have said.
Most of the human cases have involved people who've directly handled infected birds. It is not yet clear if that's the case in Azerbaijan.
"Interviews with surviving family members have failed to uncover a history of direct exposure to dead or diseased poultry for several of the cases," a WHO statement read. The investigation is ongoing.
Officials worry, however, that the H5N1 strain could morph into a variety that would spread among humans, leading to a global pandemic.
Cases of the H5N1 avian flu virus in humans and the deaths that have resulted, as of March 21, 2006:
The Avian Flu Spread
- Bird Flu Jumps to Cat in Germany
- New Bird Flu Concerns Italy, France, Egypt, India
- Tests Find Bird Flu in Egypt, France
- Bird Flu Reaches Western Europe
- Avian Flu Reaches Africa
- Bird Migration Has U.S. Experts Watching For Flu
- U.S. Not Prepared for Flu Pandemic
- Deadly Flu Will Reach U.S., Says Bird Migration Expert
- Bird Flu Pandemic Imminent, Health Official Says
- Avian Flu Could Reach U.S. Next Year
- SPECIAL REPORT: FLU FEARS
- Possible Path to Humans for Avian Flu Found
- Insides of Flu Virus Revealed
- Amid Avian Flu Fears, Other Bugs Far More Deadly
- Trojan Ducks: One More Possible Flu Carrier
- Scientists Recreate 1918 Flu Virus From Scratch
SPECIAL REPORT: FLU FEARS
What it is and how it affects us.
How to prevent and treat the flu.
How flu could become a global killer.