Bird Flu is caused by infection with a certain type of influenza virus that infects birds and poultry. However, there are reports of cases of bird flu found in mammals. The spread of transmission to mammals has raised concerns for many experts, including the World Health Organization (WHO).
Recently, WHO issued a warning to be more aware of the widespread transmission of bird flu among mammals. What is the risk of transmission to humans? Here’s the explanation!
Bird Flu is Reported to Have Infected Mammals
For 25 years, H5N1 bird flu has been widespread in wild birds and poultry. Birds are natural hosts of the avian influenza virus.
However, bird flu transmission has occurred to mammals recently and needs to be monitored closely. There are several reports that say several animals, such as minks, foxes, otters, and sea lions. Have been infected with H5N1 bird flu over the past few weeks.
The Risk of H5N1 Bird Flu Transmission To Humans is Currently Low
The World Health Organization (WHO) assesses the risk of H5N1 bird flu transmission to humans so far is still low. This is because since H5N1 first appeared in 1996. Transmission of the virus to humans and between humans has been rare.
Even so, WHO cannot assume that transmission to humans will remain difficult in the future. Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of WHO. Reminded us to be prepared in the event of a change in status.
Communities are advised not to touch or collect dead or sick wild animals, but to report them to local authorities. WHO is working with national authorities and partners to monitor the current situation and study cases of H5N1 infection in humans. WHO also recommends countries to strengthen monitoring of the environment where humans and livestock or wild animals interact.
Viruses Can Adapt to Different Animal Species
Quoting WebMD’s explanation, as many as 208 million birds died worldwide due to the H5N1 bird flu outbreak that occurred and at least 200 cases were found in mammals. Most cases in mammals have been found in scavengers, such as raccoons that have eaten infected birds. In addition, outbreaks have also occurred in mink farms in Spain indicating that the virus has spread among the animals.
H5N1 that can spread to small mammals shows that the virus is able to adapt to different animal species. However, the virus has not adapted to humans so transmission from animals to humans is rare and transmission between humans is also more difficult.
Cases Of Bird Flu in Humans Due to Contact With Infected Animals
Transmission of the avian influenza virus to humans is relatively rare, but there have been reports of cases appearing sporadically. Infections that occur in humans can cause severe conditions.
Infection in humans can occur by direct contact with infected animals or contaminated environments. There have been several cases of H5N1 bird flu in humans linked to the consumption of food made from contaminated raw poultry blood.
Disease Transmission in Animals Must be Controlled
Although the ability to infect humans is considered low, transmission of the virus among animals must still be controlled. According to WHO Epidemic and Pandemic Preparedness and Prevention Director, Dr. Sylvie Briand, the spread of disease in animals must be controlled because the more viruses circulating among animals, the higher the risk for humans.
The risk of transmission to humans can be higher because viruses in animals can evolve into forms that are easily transmitted and transmission can occur in the human population. Therefore, controlling the spread of the avian influenza virus in poultry is very important to reduce the risk of infection in humans.
WHO warns that the bird flu virus has spread to several mammals. Even so, the risk of transmitting the H5N1 bird flu virus to humans is still considered low. It is necessary to control the spread of the disease among animals so that the virus does not transfer to humans.
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