What to Know About Bird Flu, or Avian Influenza
April 7, 2022

What to Know About Bird Flu, or Avian Influenza

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Since a case of extremely pathogenic chicken flu was confirmed in a duck from South Carolina early this 12 months, tens of millions of birds have died in what’s been the deadliest avian influenza surge within the US for the reason that 2014-15 outbreak

Regardless of the harm to the poultry industry and fears for zoo animals, the chicken flu presents a low risk to public well being, in keeping with the US Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention. To date, the CDC says, the current bird flu virus lacks the mutations essential to unfold to individuals simply, and it might additionally lack the adjustments which have triggered extreme sickness in individuals prior to now. 

However in previous years, these uncommon human circumstances of avian influenza (which have largely been in individuals who work immediately with birds) have killed more than half of the people who had reported infections. Given the potential public well being menace, even when it stays low, the CDC and USDA are monitoring the outbreaks in flocks of birds and have steerage on tips on how to work together with birds, and tips on how to defend your self. 

Here is what to know. 

What’s the chicken flu?

The bird flu, aka avian influenza, is the illness attributable to an infection with influenza kind A viruses. These viruses can flow into amongst birds around the globe and have contaminated people in uncommon circumstances, largely those that work immediately with contaminated birds. If the viruses mutate enough, the general public well being worry is that they may make the bounce to unfold amongst people. The chicken flu was first detected and managed in 1997, however reemerged in 2003 and began spreading broadly amongst birds.

Influenza viruses that trigger the chicken flu are both “low pathogenic” or “highly pathogenic.” Extremely pathogenic chicken flu may cause extreme illness or demise in poultry, and it is these circumstances that the USDA is reporting

The predominant chicken flu virus on the earth is H5N1, in keeping with the CDC.

The World Well being Group experiences four types of influenza viruses: A, B, C and D. However kind A viruses, which happen in each people and totally different sorts of animals, are the most important menace to public well being, the WHO says. The “swine flu” of 2009’s pandemic was attributable to a sort A virus. Seasonal flu viruses in people are attributable to kind A and kind B viruses. 

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Is chicken flu lethal? 

More than 800 human cases of the chicken flu have been reported to the WHO since 2003, in keeping with a Feb. 18 report from the company. Though human chicken flu circumstances have remained uncommon, greater than half of individuals contaminated with the virus have died.

Due to the intense well being menace, the WHO, CDC and United States Division of Agriculture are carefully monitoring outbreaks within the US and in different nations. However, the WHO famous in its February report, the current chicken flu circumstances don’t seem to pose a higher public well being menace this 12 months than in earlier years.

The place within the US is the chicken flu? How is it being monitored?

The chicken flu has been detected and reported by the USDA in wild and home birds in roughly half of US states. Most outbreaks in flocks of birds have occurred on the East Coast and within the Midwest.

Henry Niman, a biochemist in Pittsburgh, has been tracking the outbreak (as reported by The New York Instances), and his map gives a visible illustration of the outbreak throughout the nation.

The primary case was in a wild chicken in South Carolina. Different circumstances have been reported in some yard flocks (that’s, not a part of a business poultry farm) in addition to some poultry farms, the place animals are raised for meals. Any birds of the flocks which have circumstances of avian flu is not going to enter the meals system, the USDA stated.

“Wild chicken surveillance gives an early warning system for the introduction and distribution of avian influenza viruses of concern in america,” according to the agency. To observe outbreaks, the USDA stated it’s amassing samples in 25 totally different states, coordinating with State Departments of Wildlife or Pure Sources and extra.

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How do you catch chicken flu? 

Birds can shed avian influenza virus of their saliva, feces and mucus, in keeping with the CDC. People can get sick by respiratory within the virus, or by touching their eyes, nostril or mouth. Most human chicken flu circumstances have been reported in individuals who work immediately with birds.

To keep away from getting sick, keep away from contact with wild birds, do not contact useless or sick birds you see, and keep away from visiting chicken markets or farms if you happen to’re touring to a different nation, according to the CDC

Further precautions or monitoring could also be taken if you happen to work directly with birds, if you happen to hunt birds or if you happen to’re a health care worker. In case you have contact with an contaminated chicken, contact your native or state well being division. Here’s a directory of local health departments within the US.

To keep away from contamination from poultry of any variety, be sure to correctly deal with your poultry and eggs, and totally cook dinner them to 165 levels Fahrenheit, the USDA says, to kill micro organism and viruses. 

It’s also possible to report a useless chicken to your native well being division or wildlife company, which can assist public well being officers observe not solely the chicken flu but in addition viruses equivalent to West Nile virus. Reporting useless birds could also be particularly essential if you happen to see more than one of them

As long as people eat birds and different animal merchandise, in addition to reside and work amongst them, there is perhaps a threat for viruses to jump from species to species. And the threat of bird flu inflicting an outbreak amongst individuals is not new to 2022. 

However with cautious monitoring and a focus to public well being, the hope is that we’ll keep away from one other pandemic with a big lack of life.

The CDC has stated it has “produced a candidate vaccine virus,” if it is wanted, in response to a possible public well being menace.

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.

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