The bird flu pandemic has already affected more than twenty million poultry in the United States.

On April 11, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that more than 24 million poultry, including chickens, turkeys and other farm animals, have succumbed to the avian flu this season. This number includes both animals affected by the virus and those killed due to the outbreak.

The CDC said the disease is currently present in 159 outbreaks, spread across 25 different states and 98 counties. Experts fear that the pandemic will spread to other regions due to the discovery of wild birds also carrying the virus. A total of 637 infected wild birds have been identified in 31 different states.

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According to the information, the virus at the core of the pandemic is avian influenza H5N1, a virus that is known to be particularly pathogenic.

Are there any public health risks?

Along with H7N9 viruses, H5N1 is one of the most worrying subtypes of avian influenza. In humans, it has a particularly high mortality rate, especially among young people.

Although H5N1 has claimed lives in previous outbreaks in other places, there have been no human cases this season in North America. According to the CDC, the risks to public health are quite low.

Earlier this year, a case was reported in the UK, but officials managed to contain the spread of the virus. So far, no human-to-human transmission has been proven yet.

However, to reduce the risk of contamination, the CDC always recommends thoroughly cooking poultry and eggs before consumption. You should also avoid touching wild birds and take necessary precautions when handling pet birds that spend time outside.

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Less dangerous than the previous H5N1 virus?

From 2020, other parts of the world such as Europe, Asia, Middle East, Africa and Canada are also facing the H5N1 virus. The latter became the dominant subtype of avian influenza worldwide by the fall of 2021. During epidemics in recent decades, there have been some cases of transmission to humans, but their numbers were relatively small.

So far, it seems that the circulating strain of H5N1 does not show enough dangerous mutations to alert scientists. The CDC reported that so far, this season’s H5N1 viruses do not show changes seen in the past that have been linked to viruses that can be more easily transmitted between poultry, infect humans more easily and infect humans. can cause serious illness.

The H5N1 bird flu virus is among scientists who were likely candidates for a future pandemic. It is therefore not surprising that public health experts are concerned about the situation currently affecting the United States.

Source: iFLScience

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