An outbreak of bird flu has hit Japan; Japan’s government on Wednesday called for nationwide disinfection of poultry farms to contain an outbreak of bird flu, according to the national broadcaster NHK.
Japan has detected bird flu in six regional prefectures since last month. This is the worst outbreak in Japan in more than the previous four years.
Bird flu has also been detected in Europe and is rapidly spreading, raising significant concern in the poultry industry.
Bird flu, also known as Avian Influenza, is a variety of influenza caused by viruses that have adapted t birds. Bird flu is similar to swine flu, dog flu, Horse flu, and Human flu.
It is an illness that is caused by the strains of influenza viruses that have adapted to a specific host.
Bird flu is dangerous because while it has adapted to birds, it can also stably adapt and sustain in humans as a person – to – person transmission.
The first strain of H5N1 was first isolated in Guangdong province of China in 1996 in a farmed goose and found its way to North America via low pathogenic strains.
The news of the breakout of Bird flu in Japan and also reported cases in Europe is complicated as the world is also dealing with the Covid – 19 pandemic.
The virus subtype H5N1 is an emerging virus influenza that is causing global concern as it has the potential to break into a pandemic.
Since 1997, when the first human outbreak of H5N1 happened, there has been an increasing number of bird–to–human transmissions. This has lead to clinically severe and fatal human infections.
The first known transmission of H5N1 occurred in Hong Kong in 1997, where 18 humans, six deaths were confirmed, the irony that none of these infected people worked in poultry farms.
In 2006, the first human – to – human transmission was reported when seven members of a family in Sumatra, Indonesia became infected after they had come in contact with a family member who worked in the poultry farm that had infected poultry.
The outbreak in Thailand caused massive economic losses, especially for those who had and worked in poultry farms. This led to the mass culling of infected and non-infected poultry birds. The public, in general, was cautioned and became apprehensive about consuming chicken products.
This also led to a massive down in imports, and many countries outrightly banned the import of chicken and chicken products.
In 2017, a mutation in the virus was discovered in two Guangdong patients in China.
Another strain of the bird flu is the H7N9, which was first reported in China. It infected humans, and most reported symptoms of severe respiratory illness.
The WHO has identified the virus as a potentially dangerous virus for humans after more than 100 people were infected; a fifth of these infected people had died, and the fifth recovered, but the rest remained critically ill.
H5NI outbreak in India
In 2006, India too reported an outbreak of the H5N1 virus outbreak, and it seriously disrupted the poultry industry. The first case was reported in Navapur, in Maharashtra, when many birds were reported dead in the village of Navapur.
The government had to intervene and confirmed the outbreak, and a considerable number of birds had to be culled to control the outbreak of the virus.
However, ṁany believed that the government had overreacted and had disrupted the source of income for many people.
But in truth, many villagers were exhibiting flu-like symptoms and hence were quarantined and kept under observation as a precautionary measure.
This resulted in prices of chicken and related chicken products to fall, and people in a state of panic refused to consume eggs, chicken, and chicken related products.
Bird flu in 2020
Besides the Covid -19 pandemic, several outbreaks of Avian flu of various varieties have been reported from Europe. Several European countries – Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, Sweden, and the United Kingdom – have reported an outbreak of highly pathological avian influenza, mostly in wild birds, and positive test results have also shown up in poultry birds as well as captive birds.
Three varieties of HPAI viruses, H5NB, H5N1, H5N8, were the most common strains found as per the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).
This resulted in the culling of chickens in Germany, France, and the many other countries that it has been reported in.
20 % of the protein consumed in developing countries comes from poultry. As most people engaging in poultry and poultry related products are from vulnerable populations, these are small scale farmers.
In the outbreak of H5N1, millions of birds were culled; in Vietnam alone, the numbers approx 50 million domestic birds. In most of these economies, poultry serves as a major source of food security and liquid assets.
Women workers were the most affected as in small-scale industries; it is primarily the women who tend to these small flocks.
Culling of birds and poultry
Culling is the most widespread method used for the control of Bird flu. This led to many of the farmers not reporting ill birds or infections as it would lead to a fall in incomes.
Many of these farmers are small scale, and hence mass culling would impact their income source.
Increasing cases of the virus led diseases and human overload.
Humans are invariable on the top of the food chain. Gone are the forests, wildlife, and the distance between humans and flora and fauna.
The human population has increased multifold and has even invaded the remotest of areas of planet Earth. Be it Antarctica, or the Arctic, Oceans, and Seas or any rivers in the world, most water bodies have been polluted beyond care, and even the thick Rainforest of Brazil have not been spared.
Human intervention and human plundering in every niche of natural resources have affected the delicate balance maintained on planet Earth.
Despite all our advances in technology and related fields, we have forgotten that Earth is a living being – a living planet – which is intricate and complicated but simply woven together with all living forms- whether plants, animals, or humans.
It is a world of beautiful, complex yet straightforward known and unknown facts and undiscovered or discovered life co-existing together; this is how the planet earth functions.
Unfortunately, the man in a few years of its existence, which in all actuality is equal to a blink of an eye, has donned supremacy that is nothing short of ego and false beliefs.