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:
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.