Avian influenza [Bird Flu] | H5 N1 Virus | UPSC

Avian influenza [Bird Flu] | H5 N1 Virus | UPSC

      HEADLINES:

Bird flu deaths on the rise, environment ministry issues guidelines

      WHY IN NEWS:

As many as 250 crows in Rajasthan, 1,700 migratory birds in Himachal Pradesh have died since December 2020

MINISTRY? :- Ministry of Environment, Science and Climate Change (MoEF&CC)
SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 3: Diseases

      ISSUE: 

As many as 250 crows in Rajasthan have died due to bird flu since December, 2020.

BIRDS ON A STRICT VIGIL

Bird Flu

  • The Union Ministry of Environment, Science and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) has ordered a strict vigil on the wintering habitats of migratory birds for any sign of a flu outbreak.
  • Many birds migrate to India every year during the winters for food, breeding and nesting.
  • The ministry requests all states / Union territories to take all possible measures / precautions to prevent the transmission of diseases.

Surveillance for mortality of wildlife, particularly in needs to be taken up on priority and States are requested to report such incidences of mortality to this ministry

  • The guidelines have asked all states to report to the Union ministry every week.
  • It also laid down protocols for personal and bird care as well as monitoring of migratory birds.

THE GUIDELINES

In terms of personal care, the guidelines stated, the personnel should wear rubber gloves and protective clothing that can be disinfected or disposed of, including protective eyewear and face shield

  • The influenza virus is sensitive to many common disinfectants such as detergents, 10 per cent household bleach, alcohol and other commercial disinfectants.

FOR BIRD CARE, THE GUIDELINES STATED

  • It should be ensured that wild birds are not harmed during trapping and collection of serum samples.
  • Preference should be given to the leg vein instead of the wing vein.
  • Wing vein blood collection is reported to result in hemorrhage affecting normal flight, making them susceptible to predators.

All wild bird samples are valuable; hence collection of samples, packing and transport should be done in collaboration with trained animal husbandry / veterinary staff 
 

  • Awareness should be spread that any sighting of a dead bird by volunteers, bird watchers, etc.
  • The death should be reported to the nearest forest / animal husbandry office.
  • To better monitor the migratory birds, a state-level committee has to be formed which will come with an action plan.
  • Surveillance should not be restricted to the Protected Areas alone, but to all such wetlands and habitats that provide staging grounds to the migrating birds.

BIRD FLU

WHAT IS BIRD FLU?

  • Bird flu, also called avian influenza, is a viral infection that can infect not only birds, but also humans and other animals.
  • Most forms of the virus are restricted to birds.

H5N1 is the most common form of bird flu. It’s deadly to birds and can easily affect humans and other animals that come in contact with a carrier

  • H5N1 was first discovered in humans in 1997 and has killed nearly 60 percent of those infected.

Avian influenza [Bird Flu] | H5 N1 Virus | UPSC

SOURCES : PIXABAY

  • Currently, the virus isn’t known to spread via human-to-human contact. Still, some experts worry that H5N1 may pose a risk of becoming a pandemic threat to humans.

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF BIRD FLU?

You may have an H5N1 infection if you experience typical flu-like symptoms such as:

  • Cough
  • Diarrhea
  • Respiratory difficulties
  • Fever (over 100.4°F or 38°C)
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches
  • Malaise
  • Runny nose
  • Sore throat

WHAT CAUSES BIRD FLU?

  • Although there are several types of bird flu, H5N1 was the first avian influenza virus to infect humans.
  • The first infection occurred in Hong Kong in 1997. The outbreak was linked to handling infected poultry.
  • H5N1 occurs naturally in wild waterfowl, but it can spread easily to domestic poultry.

The disease is transmitted to humans through contact with infected bird feces, nasal secretions, or secretions from the mouth or eyes
 

  • Consuming properly cooked poultry or eggs from infected birds doesn’t transmit the bird flu, but eggs should never be served runny.
  • Meat is considered safe if it has been cooked to an internal temperature of 165ºF (73.9ºC).

WHAT ARE BIRD FLU RISK FACTORS?

  • H5N1 has the ability to survive for extended periods of time.

Birds infected with H5N1 continue to release the virus in feces and saliva for as long as 10 days

  • Touching contaminated surfaces can spread the infection.

You may have a greater risk of contracting H5N1 if you are:

  • A poultry farmer
  • A traveler visiting affected areas
  • Exposed to infected birds
  • Someone who eats undercooked poultry or eggs
  • A healthcare worker caring for infected patients
  • A household member of an infected person

HOW IS BIRD FLU DIAGNOSED?

  • The test is called influenza A/H5 (Asian lineage) virus real-time RT-PCR primer and probe set.

It can offer preliminary results in only four hours. However, the test isn’t widely available

Your doctor may also perform the following tests to look for the presence of the virus that causes bird flu:

  • Auscultation (a test that detects abnormal breath sounds)
  • White blood cell differential
  • Chest X-ray

WHAT’S THE TREATMENT FOR BIRD FLU?

  • Different types of bird flu can cause different symptoms. As a result, treatments may vary.

In most cases, treatment with antiviral medication such as oseltamivir (Tamiflu) or zanamivir (Relenza) can help reduce the severity of the disease

  • However, the medication must be taken within 48 hours after symptoms first appear.
  • The virus that causes the human form of the flu can develop resistance to the two most common forms of antiviral medications, amantadine and rimantadine (Flumadine).
  • These medications shouldn’t be used to treat the disease.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

  • The outlook for bird flu infection depends on the severity of infection and the type of influenza virus causing it. H5N1 has a high mortality rate, while other types don’t.

There are few vaccines undergoing trials. Currently vaccine isn’t available to the public

Some potential complications include:

  • Sepsis (a possibly fatal inflammatory response to bacteria and other germs)
  • Pneumonia
  • Organ failure
  • Acute respiratory distress
SUGGESTED READING : NAMING OF COVID-19 
     SOURCES:  DownToEarth  | Avian influenza [Bird Flu] | H5 N1 Virus | UPSC 

 

DISCOVER MORE : GENERAL STUDIES-III

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