Health Sector – UHC, National Health Policy, Family Planning, Health Insurance, etc.

Bird Flu Outbreak

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Bird Flu

Mains level : Not Much

An outbreak of bird flu was confirmed in Kerala, Rajasthan and Himachal.

Try this question from our AWE initiative:

There is been an increase in occurance of zoonotic human infectious diseases are zoonotic . Give reasons for this. Also suggest ways to contain and decrease the frequency of such events.(250 Words)

What is Bird Flu?

  • Bird flu is an infection caused by avian influenza viruses, which are of different types A, B and C.
  • Type A avian influenza viruses are the most frequently associated with avian influenza epidemics and pandemics.
  • There are 16 hemagglutinin (H1 to H16) and 9 neuraminidase types (N1 to N9) identified till date.
  • There are various modes of transmission of human influenza including inhalation, direct or indirect contact etc. can have manifestations ranging from mild to severe or fatal disease.
  • Avian influenza A (H5N1) results in a high death rate amongst infants and young children.
  • The first outbreak of human infection by avian influenza viruses (H5N1) was observed in 1997 in Hong Kong. Since then a large number of outbreaks have been reported in different parts of the world.

The H5N8 strain

  • The presence of the H5N8 subtype of the Influenza A virus was reported in ducks in parts of Kerala.
  • While it can prove lethal for birds, the H5N8 strain of avian influenza has a lower likelihood of spreading to humans compared to H5N1.
  • While the source of infection is yet to be pinpointed, the role of migratory birds in passing on the virus is suspected.
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