Warning! Bird flu virus changing rapidly in largest ever outbreak


Since first emerging in 1996, the H5N1 avian influenza virus had previously been confined to mostly seasonal outbreaks. But “something happened” in mid-2021 that made the group of viruses much more infectious, according to Richard Webby, the head of a World Health Organization collaborating center studying influenza in animals.

Since then, outbreaks have lasted all year round, spreading to new areas and leading to mass deaths among wild birds and tens of millions of poultry being culled. Webby, who is a researcher at St Jude Children’s Research Hospital in the US city of Memphis, told AFP it was “absolutely” the largest outbreak of avian influenza the world had seen.

Last week Chile said that nearly 9,000 sea lions, penguins, otters, porpoises and dolphins have died from bird flu along its north coast since the start of the year. Most mammals are believed to have contracted the virus by eating an infected bird.

But Webby said that what “scares us the most” are indications from a Spanish mink farm, or among sea lions off South America, that the virus could be transmitting between mammals.

Ian Brown, virology head at the UK’s Animal and Plant Health Agency, said there has not yet been “clear evidence that this virus is easily sustaining in mammals.” While the virus is changing to become “more efficient and more effective in birds,” it remains “unadapted to humans,” Brown told AFP. [Medical Xpress]

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  1. What type of rhetoric is this? Another distraction… why is nobody concerned about serious, real epidemics? The nationwide and international medical kidnapping industry, and bipartisan and global child trafficking industry?

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