Bird flu is already spreading around the world

The spread of avian flu adds one more concern to those already existing on our planet. A major global problem, since migratory birds carry the virus, infecting birds and mammals anywhere in the world.

bird flu

Bird flu is a very aggressive virus

The virus that causes this disease affects animals, but also humans, and is highly aggressive. It is spread by wild animals who carry it with them across continents as they migrate. It has already reached South America, which had no records of the disease.

On the coasts of Chile and Peru, thousands of dead animals such as seals, sea lions and otters were found, as well as countless birds.

The most aggressive strains of bird flu are H5N1 and H5N8. This disease probably has its origin in poultry farms in China, according to information from the UN.

Spread of the disease

A few years ago, when bird flu was detected on a farm, thousands of animals were sacrificed to eradicate the strain. Although this changed drastically when in 2021 breeders in Asia let ducks feed on rice farms. At that time farm birds spread the disease to wild birds. This, in turn, was spread throughout the world through migration.

Migrations spread bird flu

In the recent past, avian flu was seasonal, with outbreaks appearing in autumn and winter and disappearing when spring arrived. However, that is no longer the case. The virus managed to adapt and wild birds that live in the water are its carriers throughout the year. This is already happening in North America and the problem is reaching South America.

The seriousness of the situation with this disease is that mammals are also infected. By eating dead birds that had the virus, contagion occurs. When bird flu reaches large colonies of wild birds, the high mortality of these birds attracts mammals that feed on them. Foxes, martens, seals or otters, when they feed, ingest the virus that spreads at an alarming rate.

Could bird flu become a new pandemic?

There is still no solid evidence that the virus can spread from mammal to mammal. Although a large number of dead sea lions were found on the South American coasts and they suspect that there may be a transmission of the virus from one animal to another.

The investigation is already underway, because if the latter is true and the virus has mutated again, it endangers the human population. Until now, some humans have had the disease in rare cases.

If the virus really produced a mutation and spreads between mammals, it will be necessary to develop a vaccine. For that reason, the World Health Organization already has one that is effective against H5N1, which would go into mass production if the bird flu becomes an epidemic.

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