WHO Sounds Alarm Over Spread of Bird Flu to Humans: 'Huge Concern'

Society » HEALTH | April 18, 2024, Thursday // 13:41
Bulgaria: WHO Sounds Alarm Over Spread of Bird Flu to Humans: 'Huge Concern'

The World Health Organization (WHO) has issued a stark warning regarding the spread of bird flu (H5N1) to various species, including humans, expressing deep concern over its impact and potential consequences, according to reports from AFP.

Speaking to reporters in Geneva, the WHO's chief scientist, Jeremy Farrar, emphasized the severity of the situation, describing it as a "huge concern" given the extraordinarily high death rate associated with the virus.

The current wave of bird flu, which originated in 2020, has led to the deaths of tens of millions of domestic and wild birds, as well as terrestrial and marine mammals, marking a significant threat to both animal and human health.

In a surprising turn of events last month, cows and goats were also affected by the virus, a development that caught experts off guard as these species were not previously thought to be susceptible to this strain of flu.

Describing the H5N1 strain as a "global zoonotic animal pandemic," Farrar underscored the potential for the virus to mutate and jump species barriers, posing a heightened risk of transmission to humans.

"The biggest worry, of course, is that by infecting ducks and chickens and then increasingly mammals, the virus will develop and be able to infect humans, and then pass from person to person," Farrar cautioned.

Despite the lack of evidence of human-to-human transmission thus far, the WHO highlighted the alarming mortality rate associated with H5N1 infection in cases where individuals come into contact with infected birds.

While efforts to contain the spread of bird flu continue, the WHO's warning serves as a stark reminder of the urgent need for vigilance and coordinated action to mitigate the risks posed by zoonotic diseases.

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Tags: WHO, bird flu, H5N1, pandemic

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