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Avian influenza: a major public health problem – United Nations

Avian influenza: a major public health problem – United Nations

The continuing global spread of “bird flu” infections to mammals as well as humans is a major public health problem according to the World Health Organization (from).

This was said by Dr. Jeremy Farrar, chief scientist at the World Health Organization Avian influenza virus – which is also known as H5N1 – has had an extremely high mortality rate among the several hundred people who have been infected so far.

To date, no human-to-human transmission of the H5N1 virus has been recorded.

He said, “The H5N1 virus is an influenza infection that began mainly in poultry and ducks and has spread effectively in the past year or two to become a global animal pandemic.”

“The big concern, of course, is that it's not just ducks and chickens that are infected — but now more and more mammals — that the virus is now evolving and developing the ability to infect humans. And then, more importantly, the ability to transmit from human to human transmission.” etc.

Lots of cows grazing outside
Cows graze near a drilling rig in Texas, USA. Photo: Unsplash/Donald Giannati

Livestock secret

Commenting on the ongoing outbreak of the H5N1 virus among dairy cows in the United States, the top WHO official called for increased monitoring and careful investigation by public health authorities, “because it may evolve to spread in different ways.”

He added: “Do cow milking structures produce aerosols? Is it the environment in which they live? Is it the transportation system that spreads this across the country? This is a huge concern and I think we need to… make sure that if H5N1 starts infecting people, person to person, that we are in a position to respond immediately with equitable access to vaccines, treatment and diagnostics.

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