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Avian influenza is caused by the H5N1 subtype of the influenza A virus. Human transmission is either directly through close contact with infected birds usually poultry or their secretions. To date 178 people throughout South East Asia have been infected with 85 deaths. Patients usually present with a rapidly progressive pneumonia that can result in respiratory failure and acute respiratory distress syndrome. The chest radiograph therefore remains the most convenient and accessible imaging modality. Studies have shown that most radiographs are abnormal at the time of presentation with multifocal consolidation the commonest radiographic finding. During the course of disease, pleural effusions and cavitation can also develop. Consolidation that involves > or = 4 zones on presentation or at day 7 after the onset of symptoms and subsequent development of acute respiratory distress syndrome are generally associated with an adverse outcome. Chest CT examinations performed during the convalescent period have demonstrated persistent ground glass attenuation and segmental consolidation. Additional features included pseudocavitation, pneumatocoele formation, lymphadenopathy, and centrilobular nodules. Overall the appearances are suggestive of mild fibrosis.

Original publication




Journal article


J Thorac Imaging

Publication Date





259 - 264


Animals, Asia, Southeastern, Disease Outbreaks, Humans, Influenza A Virus, H5N1 Subtype, Influenza in Birds, Influenza, Human, Poultry, Respiratory Distress Syndrome, Adult, Respiratory Insufficiency, Tomography, X-Ray Computed