backyard chickens
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Because the world grapples with one of many largest recorded outbreaks of chicken flu (H5N1 avian influenza) considerations have been raised within the media in regards to the potential dangers to human well being and whether or not that is the subsequent pandemic we must be getting ready for.

Professor John Edmunds, Professor of Infectious Illness Modeling on the London College of Hygiene & Tropical Medication (LSHTM), mentioned, “One of many curious results of the COVID-19 pandemic is that it appears to have taken our consideration away from different infectious illness threats. There may be an ongoing outbreak of Ebola Sudan virus in Uganda in the meanwhile that most individuals are fully unaware of and at residence we’ve been affected by a serious outbreak of H5N1 avian influenza (chicken flu) for over a yr now. Certainly, this pressure of H5N1 is spreading globally affecting home and wild birds throughout a lot of the Northern Hemisphere.

“It’s extremely pathogenic and really transmissible amongst birds. There are numerous cases of die-offs in business flocks and nesting colonies which has led to strict measures being put in place to attempt to scale back its unfold. These embody culling of affected business flocks, the imposition of ‘safety zones’ round affected premises and an order to make sure that all home birds are housed indoors (your free-range turkey this Christmas could have been restricted to strutting spherical its barn).

“Even with these measures, H5N1 has continued to unfold. Certainly, the frequency of outbreaks is rising, with 126 confirmed circumstances in England for the reason that begin of this October out of a complete of 259 circumstances for the reason that outbreak started in October 2021. With every case ensuing within the slaughter of affected flocks, thousands and thousands of birds have been culled to date. The impression on farmers and the poultry business has been devasting.

“So, what are the dangers to people? At current they appear to be very low. There have solely been two documented human infections with this pressure of H5N1—one right here within the U.Ok. and one within the US. Crucially, there aren’t any recognized circumstances of human-to-human transmission. The virus appears to lack the flexibility to contaminate us effectively.

“While that is undoubtably excellent news, there isn’t a room for complacency. Influenza viruses mutate and evolve quickly and the extra this virus spreads the larger the probabilities that it may well purchase the flexibility to contaminate people. This might be on account of a reassortment occasion the place an individual (or maybe one other mammal, reminiscent of a pig) is contaminated by H5N1 and one other pressure of flu concurrently. An occasion reminiscent of this led to the final influenza pandemic in 2009.

“So, it’s essential to take precautions to keep away from being contaminated. These largely have an effect on poultry and veterinary staff or these with yard flocks, however the remainder of us must also be conscious of the dangers. Don’t contact useless or sick wild birds and report any suspect circumstances instantly. The chance to people stays low: immediate and cautious motion by all of us may help to maintain it that approach.”

Professor Punam Mangtani, Professor of Epidemiology at LSHTM added, “The significance of fine biosecurity and avoidance of contact with sick or useless birds and poultry and dwell chicken markets the place there are outbreaks of ‘chicken flu’ is underlined by the findings of LSHTM researchers with public well being colleagues on the Institute of Epidemiology, Illness Management and Analysis, Bangladesh. Mixed vet and medical groups analyzing crow deaths in 2017 at dwell chicken poultry markets famous staff there have been uncovered to aerosolized viable avian influenza A viruses.

“Different current work has additionally highlighted average yr spherical transmission of avian influenza in poultry in dwell chicken markets. Though there have been totally different timings in peaks of viral exercise in comparison with seasonal influenza in people, there may be nonetheless the danger of influenza viral reassortment resulting in potential pandemic influenza strains, including to the proof supporting the pressing want for giant scale enhancements in dwell animal markets.”

Professional feedback on human well being dangers of present chicken flu outbreak (2022, December 7)
retrieved 11 December 2022

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