Bird Flu – Timeline
The first documented
case of human infection from the H5N1 virus occurred in Hong Kong, with 18
people infected, of whom six died. The Hong Kong authorities destroyed the
region’s entire poultry population of 1.5 million birds.
A Hong Kong family, on
their return from a trip to Southern China, became infected. The father and
daughter died (though the daughter was not tested, so the cause of death is
not officially known), while the son recovered.
December 2003 – March
The H5N1 virus was
successively identified in domestic poultry in eight countries – Cambodia,
China, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, South Korea, Thailand and Vietnam. In
Vietnam, 23 cases of human infection were reported, with 16 deaths. In
Thailand, 12 cases of human infection were reported, with eight deaths.
Altogether, 120 million birds died or were destroyed.
New outbreaks were
reported in Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam. Four
more cases of human infection were reported in Vietnam, with all those
infected dying. There were also five new cases in Thailand, with four
deaths, including what was thought to be the first human-to-human infection.
December 2004 -
A succession of new
outbreaks occurred in Vietnam, with 64 cases of human infection, 21 of them
In January 2005, the
first known case of human infection occurred in Cambodia, with the patient
dying in a Vietnamese hospital. Three more deaths occurred in Cambodia in
March and April 2005.
In March 2005, the North
Korean authorities announced the outbreak of bird flu (later confirmed not
to be H5N1), and in July 2005, both Russia and Kazakhstan reported H5N1
outbreaks, followed by cases in Mongolia in August 2005. In all cases, no
human infection was reported.
In July 2005, Indonesia
reported its first case of human infection, with the patient dying.
A further three cases of
human infection were reported in Indonesia, two of them fatal.
Three more Indonesian cases were confirmed, one of them fatal, bringing to
seven the total number
of cases, including four deaths.
H5N1 was found in dead birds in north-western Turkey. It was also confirmed
in Russia, Romania and Croatia.
Thailand announced its 13th bird flu death.
Quarantine officials found H5N1 in birds being brought into Britain and
Taiwan. New outbreaks were confirmed in China.
Two more Indonesian cases were confirmed early in the month, one of them
fatal, bringing to nine the total number of cases, including five deaths. New
outbreaks were confirmed in China and Vietnam. The 42nd death was confirmed
A new case of human infection - the 21st - was reported in Thailand. Kuwait
confirmed the H5N1 virus in a migrating flamingo.
In mid-November the Chinese government announced the country's first cases
of human infection - three victims, two of who died.
More deaths in Indonesia
and Thailand, and more cases in China. Outbreaks among birds in the Ukraine. The
year ended with the confirmation of China's third bird flu fatality.
Early in the new year, a major outbreak occurred across regions of Turkey,
the first reported cases of human infection outside East Asia. More deaths
were reported in China and in Indonesia, and at the end of the month the
first case - and the first death - was reported in Iraq.
More cases of human infection were reported in China and Indonesia, and
another person died in Iraq. No fewer than 13 countries reported their first
H5N1 outbreak - Nigeria, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Greece, Italy, Slovenia,
Iran, Austria, Germany, Egypt, India, France and Niger.
Bird flu continued to spread in Europe, with H5N1 confirmed in Switzerland, Poland,
Serbia and Albania. Minor panic broke out when cats in Austria and Germany
contracted the disease. Outbreaks were also reported in Israel and Jordan. Indonesia
and China reported more deaths, and there were also deaths in Azerbaijan and
Egypt reported more cases of human infection. The UK and Burkina Faso
confirmed H5N1 in birds. There were more deaths in China and Indonesia.
Djibouti reported its first case of human infection.
In mid-June Reuters summarized the bird flu "state of play" - since late
2003 outbreaks had been confirmed in more than 48 countries, including more
than 30 countries in 2006. The virus had killed 129 people, with 80 of them
in Vietnam and Indonesia.
Indonesia recorded its 42nd human death, equalling the number in Vietnam.
Thailand recorded its first human death of the year. Spain reported its
first case in a bird.
Bird flu cases continued throughout Indonesia. Egypt and Thailand each
recorded another death, and Iraq retrospectively confirmed one more case.
South Korea culled thousands of birds to halt H5N1 outbreaks.
New outbreaks were reported in poultry in Japan, South Korea, Russia, the
United Kingdom, Hong Kong,
Egypt, Nigeria, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Hungary, with the first human deaths reported in Laos and
In early April more cases of human infection were reported in Egypt. In May,
Ghana, Vietnam and Bangladesh reported outbreaks in poultry.