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20 years ago, in 2004, Asia experienced a worrying resurgence of the avian flu virus.

Radio-Canada

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20 years ago, avian flu caused by the A (H5N1) virus spread like wildfire in several Asian countries. The World Health Organization (WHO) was particularly concerned about its transmission to humans. Reports from our archives look back at the beginnings of this epidemic.

It was in 1997 in Hong Kong that the avian flu virus was spotted for the first time. Six people lose their lives.

The virus resurfaced in April 2003, this time reaching 10 countries: China, South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, as well as Indonesia and Pakistan. .

In this report from the show Découverte broadcast on February 15, 2004, host Charles Tisseyre explains the concerns of WHO.

< p class="StyledImageCaptionLegend-sc-57496c44-2 sbxsP">Report by Mario Masson, narrated by Charles Tisseyre, about the beginnings of the avian flu virus in Asia at the end of the 1990s and its worrying resurgence in 2004. Host and narrator: Charles Tisseyre. Directed by: Chantal Théoret.

The new influenza virus, H5N1, is very scary, and the WHO is on alert. Originating from the chicken flu, which caused great harm in Hong Kong in 1997, the virus is spreading throughout Southeast Asia.

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WHO fears the virus will mutate, creating a highly deadly pandemic.

For now, it is not spreading only from birds to humans, but it would be a disaster if it passed from one human to another. A probability that increases as the number of infected chickens increases.

A quote from Charles Tisseyre, February 15, 2004

In early 2004, avian flu caused the destruction of millions of chickens and the death of 60 people in Asia.

The virus can be transmitted from birds to humans, especially when handling raw meat.

On April 12, 2005, journalist Sophie Langlois presented a report to theTéléjournal about the avian flu crisis which continues in Vietnam and other Asian countries, causing 60% mortality among humans who contract the virus.

< p class="StyledImageCaptionLegend-sc-57496c44-2 sbxsP">Reporting by Sophie Langlois about the avian flu crisis which continues in Vietnam and other Asian countries, causing 60% mortality in humans who contract the virus. Host: Bernard Derome.

As the journalist explains, in Asia, people often live with chickens, who come and go as they please in markets and houses.

It is also customary to purchase the chickens live.

In Canada, the first case occurred in March 2004 on a commercial farm in 1999. chicken farm, British Columbia. The farm is immediately quarantined and the herd is slaughtered.

In 2014, avian flu claimed a very first human victim in North America.

In Téléjournalof January 8, 2014, Daniel Thibeault presents a report on this first death in Alberta.

< p class="StyledImageCaptionLegend-sc-57496c44-2 sbxsP">Report by Daniel Thibeault on the first death in Canada from avian flu, which occurred in Alberta in 2014. Host: Céline Galipeau.

It's about a person who returned from a trip.

Canada has experienced two episodes of avian flu, in 2004 in British Columbia and in 2015 in Ontario. A few isolated cases have also been identified in the meantime.

According to Canada's National Collaborating Center for Environmental Health (NCCEH), an outbreak of Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) caused by virus A (H5N1) began in late 2021.

In 2023, the virus spread spread on an unprecedented scale among wild birds, poultry and mammals in Canada and elsewhere around the world.

Few human infections occurred during this period, and none in Canada. However, vigilance remains necessary to limit the possibility of passage into humans. (Source: CCNSE)

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