News

Bird flu outbreak - what you should know now


Bird flu outbreak again
Avian flu is rampant in Germany. Avian flu broke out in Lower Saxony in 2014; Since the end of January 2017, it has been rampant with the H5N5 type in two variants. Panic is just as little in vogue as ignorance, but enlightenment. Here are some important facts.

A virus infection
Avian flu, as the technical term avian influenza, is caused by a flu virus. Chickens, turkeys, ducks and geese are mainly affected.

Other birds can also become infected, but the disease is less severe for them.

Dangerous and less dangerous variants
As with all flu viruses, there are various subtypes and variants of avian flu. In addition, the individual types change quickly. Some, such as the H 5 and H 7 viruses, are highly pathogenic. The other approximately 15 subtypes, however, are less dangerous.

What is the origin of bird flu?
Avian flu has been rampant in Asia since 2004. It is the subtype H5N1. It probably comes from Thailand, then spread to China and was spread by migratory birds.

Which virus is raging in Germany?
In 2014, a very aggressive form of the H5N8 subtype developed in South Korea. This raged under turkeys in Mecklenburg for the first time in November 2014.

How did bird flu get to Germany?
There were two transport routes for the virus: migratory birds or farm poultry. Did poultry farmers spread the virus or did wild birds infect the chickens and turkeys in the fattening facilities?

Official thesis: they were migratory birds
Researchers from the Friedrich Loffler Institute, the Federal Research Institute for Animal Health, say: In all likelihood, migratory birds from Asia brought the virus to Europe.

Is poultry farming to blame?
The Naturschutzbund (NABU) questions this official thesis. He writes: "Numerous indications speak in particular for the spread of the virus by the poultry industry itself."

Did the virus carry in poultry transports?
NABU considers it possible that the virus first came from China to Hungary, then to Austria, Poland and Germany via poultry transports.

Review required
"The fact that these outbreaks are mostly in the immediate vicinity of large slaughterhouses or on the suspected routes and rest areas of live poultry transports urgently calls for a thorough check of all transports between the affected companies and slaughterhouses in the countries mentioned."

How dangerous is current avian flu really for humans?
A definite yes. The risk of infection is low in humans because we would have to ingest large amounts of the virus, but humans died from the disease.

RP-Online writes: “According to the World Health Organization, around 850 people have contracted the highly pathogenic (very disease-causing) agent since 2003. Around 450 of them succumbed to the symptoms. The subtype H7N9 is particularly observed. Although it is not very disease-causing, it remains in the poultry for a long time undetected and can be life-threatening for humans. In 2013 there were about 800 illnesses and 300 deaths due to H7N9. So far nothing is known about the current pathogen H5N8. ”

In China, 79 people died of the H7N9 virus in January, more than ever in a month.

How does bird flu spread?
As a bird epidemic, the flu spreads from sick animals to healthy ones - especially via the feces. Scavengers also ingest the virus by eating birds that have died from the virus.

Who is at risk
People are particularly at risk if they come into permanent contact with bird droppings, bird blood and other body fluids. Risk groups are therefore employees in poultry farms and animal keepers in bird parks such as zoological gardens.

Other ways of infection
The infection also runs through transport boxes, vehicles and devices that came into contact with sick animals. Dust contaminated with the virus is essential for an epidemic spread of the disease. A whole population can become infected in mass farms and zoos.

Where does an individual case become an epidemic?
Individual wild birds that die do not trigger a wave of epidemics. Fattening farms, poultry farms, bird markets offer a breeding ground for an explosive multiplication of the virus.

If these are also in urban centers, the bird flu virus can quickly combine with human flu viruses - with potentially fatal results.

What should poultry farmers look out for?
If more than two deaths occur under the poultry within a day or the weight changes rapidly in at least two animals in 24, a veterinarian must be called in immediately.

Do not try lay diagnosis. Only the veterinarian and animal pathologist can detect the virus.

What do consumers have to watch out for?
All types of bird flu viruses are sensitive to high temperatures. No worries about bird flu in grilled chickens: a well-roasted chicken poses no danger - even if the animal was infected. Cooked through means: The core temperature must be 70 degrees Celsius for at least two minutes.

Do zoos have to close now?
Several zoological gardens, such as Hagenbeck's zoo in Hamburg, most recently the zoos in Wuppertal and Schwerin had cases of bird flu on the premises. Emus died just like pelicans

The zoo in Wuppertal closed for a short time, Schwerin had closed for a few days.

In the Berlin Zoo, the newly opened bird house remained closed, and in many zoological gardens, visitors currently see no water birds on the outdoor areas. The ducks and geese in Cologne Zoo, for example, are in the houses for security.

Do hundreds of thousands of birds have to die?
A definite yes. Since November 2016, 391,000 chickens, turkeys and ducks have been killed because bird flu was found in the herds. Even if only individual animals in a herd are affected by the disease, animals without positive results are still killed as a precaution.

It is necessary. Bird flu is now more dangerous than ever, the pathogens mutate quickly and spread rapidly.

What are the legal requirements?
The Agrarblatt writes: “The basis for the control of avian influenza in Germany is the avian influenza regulation in the version of the announcement of May 8, 2013 (Federal Law Gazette I p. 1212), which is governed by Article 29 of the ordinance of April 17, 2014 (Federal Law Gazette . 388) has been changed. ”

Here you can read which protective measures are prescribed, what the restricted and observation zones look like and how the bird flu is officially recognized. (Dr.Utz Anhalt)

Author and source information


Video: How does Coronavirus compare to Bird Flu? Your questions answered (October 2021).