All posts tagged: H5N1

Inadequate bird flu testing is making pandemic experts concerned we’re “flying blind” with H5N1

Inadequate bird flu testing is making pandemic experts concerned we’re “flying blind” with H5N1

[ad_1] After public health officials confirmed H5N1, the virus also known as bird flu, jumped from poultry to cows and recently infected an American, they’ve warned that if the virus strain made its way to pigs, it could be a time to press the panic button. That’s because swine are closer to humans in genetic terms, acting as a prime reservoir for viruses to mutate into something that could turn into a far-reaching pandemic in people. But now, a new study suggests that dairy cows might have the same potential as pigs, which could improve the bird flu’s capability of being more human-to-human transmission.  As reported by Nature, preliminary data shows that the flu virus can jump back and forth between cows and birds thanks to a specific receptor. This specific trait might allow the virus to spread more widely and develop more mutations along the way. If a single cow can be a host to multiple types of influenza over time, it could evolve to more readily infect humans.  “The biggest question is whether …

First mammal-to-human transmission of H5N1 ‘bird flu’ confirmed

First mammal-to-human transmission of H5N1 ‘bird flu’ confirmed

[ad_1] Health authorities have called for increased monitoring of US farm workers at risk of catching H5N1, after genetic data confirmed the first instance of the virus jumping from mammals to humans.  In an official report published on Friday, health officials from the US Centres for Disease Control (CDC) said they found “strong evidence” that the Texan dairy worker who became infected with bird flu in March contracted the virus from a cow. “This would be the first reported case of mammal-to-human H5N1 virus transmission reported worldwide,” said the authors. Almost 900 people in 23 countries have been infected with the highly pathogenic strain of avian flu over the last two decades, but all previous cases have been linked to infected wild or kept birds. This latest development indicates the virus has better adapted to spread between mammals, sparking fears it may eventually evolve to transmit between humans – something which is of “enormous concern,” the World Health Organization has warned.  The report said anyone exposed to the virus “should be monitored,” and that those …

UK ramps up response to H5N1 outbreak in US cattle – but refuses to test British cows

UK ramps up response to H5N1 outbreak in US cattle – but refuses to test British cows

[ad_1] H5N1 has killed tens of millions of birds and thousands of mammals worldwide since 2020 in an unprecedented outbreak. It is still unclear how the virus first jumped to cattle, but many think the most likely route of infection is via wild birds, which have been found dead on some US farms.  Its apparent ability to spread within cows is of particular concern because, with every new mammal H5N1 jumps to, it has more opportunities for the virus to evolve – and, potentially, to better infect humans. So far this year, there have been two confirmed cases of H5N1 in humans.  In Vietnam, a man died in March after direct contact with an infected bird, whilst in Texas a farm worker caught the virus from sick cattle – although his symptoms were mild. A spokesperson for the Centre for Disease Control said last week they are monitoring a further 44 people who have been exposed to the virus via cattle for signs of infection.  The WHO considers the risk to humans low, but urged …

What are the concerns surrounding the newly emerging bovine H5N1 influenza virus?

What are the concerns surrounding the newly emerging bovine H5N1 influenza virus?

[ad_1] The confirmed presence of bird flu in American dairy cattle in a March 25 report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) — and a case in Texas where a human working with cattle was infected — has put Canadian public health experts on high alert. But, what is bird flu and what do we know about influenza in both poultry and cattle? Bird flu, also called avian flu, refers to infection caused by the avian influenza Type A viruses. In the wild, influenza viruses generally spread among migratory waterfowls, such as ducks and geese. Within avian species, domestic poultry are highly susceptible to infection with Type A avian influenza viruses, including H5N1. Canada itself is amid an H5N1 avian influenza virus outbreak, with over 11 million domestic poultry estimated to be affected and culled to date. In fact, a major concern for the Canadian poultry supply chain is the incurred financial loss from culling birds. This virus is highly contagious among domestic poultry and can spread through an entire flock within a matter …

Egg producing plant shut down after discovery of H5N1 bird flu

Egg producing plant shut down after discovery of H5N1 bird flu

[ad_1] A producer of fresh eggs in the United States has temporarily shut down a plant in the southwestern state of Texas after the H5N1 strain of bird flu was detected in chickens. Cal-Maine Foods issued a statement Tuesday that it had destroyed about 1.6 million egg-laying hens and another 337,000 young hens, equaling 3.6% of its total flock, after the virus was detected at the plant. The company said it was working with government officials at all levels and other industry groups to “mitigate the risks of future outbreaks.” The company said there is no known risk of bird flu associated with eggs, and that none have been recalled. Tuesday’s announcement came a day after Texas health officials announced that a person who had worked on a dairy farm with cows infected with bird flu tested positive for the virus. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control said this is the first case of a person catching bird flu from dairy cattle. A person in the western state of Colorado tested positive for bird flu …

Antarctic penguins are now dying from the H5N1 strain of bird flu

Antarctic penguins are now dying from the H5N1 strain of bird flu

[ad_1] Scientists have confirmed the first known deaths from a contagious and highly pathogenic avian influenza strain called H5N1 in some Antarctic penguin species. H5N1 first arrived in the Antarctic in late 2023 and the virus has now been confirmed in some Gentoo penguins that were found dead in the Falkland Islands. Over 20 Gentoo chicks have been reported dead from the virus or are showing symptoms of bird flu. Other Gentoo penguins have been reported sick or dead at this same location, according to the Falkland Islands Department of Agriculture.  [Related: Seal pup die-off from avian flu in Argentina looks ‘apocalyptic.’] Possible case in King penguins Additionally, at least one King penguin is suspected to have died from bird flu. According to the Antarctic Wildlife Health Network which is part of the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research, this would be the first death from bird flu in this species. The suspected case was reported on South Georgia island, about 900 miles east of the Falklands. However, the extent of the virus spread is still …

Polar bear dies from bird flu as H5N1 spreads across globe | Alaska

[ad_1] A polar bear has been killed by bird flu as the highly contagious H5N1 virus spreads into the most remote parts of the planet. The death was confirmed in December by the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation. “This is the first polar bear case reported, for anywhere,” Dr Bob Gerlach, Alaska’s state veterinarian, told the Alaska Beacon. It was found near Utqiagvik, one of the northernmost communities in Alaska, two years after this latest strain was detected in North America. Gerlach said it was likely the bear was scavenging on the carcasses of infected birds. Polar bears are listed as “vulnerable” on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) red list of endangered species, mainly due to the loss of sea ice. It is possible that more bears have died unnoticed as they tend to live in remote places with few people, said Gerlach. “You’re really dependent on the public that’s out there, or the wildlife biologists that are doing surveillance,” he said. The current outbreak of the highly infectious variant of H5N1 …

Bird flu: H5N1 virus in Brazil wild birds prompts animal health emergency | Bird flu

[ad_1] Brazil has declared a state of animal health emergency for 180 days in response to its first ever detection of the highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza virus in wild birds. Brazil – the world’s biggest chicken meat exporter with US$9.7bn in sales in 2022 – has so far confirmed eight cases of the H5N1 in wild birds, including seven in Espirito Santo state and one in Rio de Janeiro state. The agriculture ministry said on Monday that it had created an emergency operations centre to coordinate, plan and evaluate “national actions related to avian influenza.“ H5N1 infection in wild birds does not trigger trade bans, based on guidelines of the World Organization for Animal Health. However, a case of bird flu on a farm usually results in the entire flock being killed and can trigger trade restrictions from importing countries. Though Brazil’s main meat producing states are in the south, the government is on alert after the confirmed cases, as avian flu in wild birds has been followed by transmission to commercial flocks in …