Bird flu may be endemic in Turkey -- What does endemic mean anyways?

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations says that the bird flu (Avian Influenza virus H5N1) may become endemic in the country of Turkey. Over the past week we have seen a growing number of human infections in Turkey and at least two Turkish deaths caused by the disease.

A disease is considered to be endemic when it does not require any outside inputs to continue in an area.

Endemic or not? An example

Chickenpox are endemic in Minnesota and the US because you can catch it without someone coming from outside that area and giving it to you. The same cannot be said for Malaria. You would have to come in contact with some outside carrier to catch Malaria in Minnesota.

The fear is that the disease may have infected enough birds to continue spreading around Turkey without any newly infected birds traveling from Asia where the disease started. Currently the disease cannot spread from human to human. To become infected with the virus you have to come in contact with an infected bird.

However, there is a concern that if the disease continues to spread in Turkey that it could become a problem in surrounding countries like Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Iraq, Iran and Syria.

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

Liza's picture
Liza says:

Researchers think Turkey might be a great place to get some answers about avian flu.

posted on Thu, 02/16/2006 - 11:31pm

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