‘We’re not ready’ warning as severe avian flu scenario could kill 1 in 40 infected
With the end of 2021, with tens of millions of poultry discarded, the world is experiencing one of the worst global bird flu outbreaks ever. infection to humans or other mammals,” public health officials are currently simulating scenarios of human transmission of the virus while studying the possibilities of a pandemic. It is alarming that in the worst case, one in 40 infected people could die.
The good news is that the UKHSA says there is currently no evidence that the avian influenza virus can be spread between people, despite the fact that some of them become ill after contact with infected birds.
But health officials have warned that the high rate of transmission from birds poses a “constant risk”.
Now they are developing a Covid-style model considering two pandemic scenarios.
The UKHSA is looking at a mild scenario, in which the death rate from an infection is similar to the coronavirus at about 0.25 percent, and a more severe scenario, similar to the 1918 outbreak, in which about 2.5 percent of people who contracted the virus died.
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To illustrate this, one in 400 people with the virus will die in a mild scenario, but a severe scenario could mean one in 40 infected people will die, according to Sky News.
The UKHSA explained that even with a fairly low death rate from the infection, a severe scenario could lead to “significant differences in behavior compared to recent pandemic experience”.
In addition, health officials are also considering identifying outbreaks in humans, including through Covid-style lateral flow tests.
They are also looking for ways to determine which genetic mutations may signal an increased risk to a person’s health.
While there were no suitable vaccines for Covid when the pandemic began, there are already several good avian flu candidates that could help.
This happened after an 11-year-old girl in Cambodia died of H5N1, a strain of the bird flu virus.
According to Cambodia’s health minister, the girl’s father also tested positive. It is unclear whether he contracted the virus from his daughter or through contact with an infected bird.
If this is an example of person-to-person transmission, then this would be one of the first cases.
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While there has previously been some evidence that people have contracted the virus from family members or in health care settings, the UKHSA said there is little or no evidence of “sustained” transmission between people.
Humans rarely get avian influenza, but when they do, it usually comes from direct contact with infected birds.
Sylvie Briand, WHO director of preparedness for global infectious threats, said: “We are better prepared (than for Covid), but even if we are better prepared, we are not yet prepared enough.
“We need to really continue our efforts to fight the flu pandemic.”
What are the symptoms of bird flu?
According to the NHS, telltale signs of bird flu can appear “very quickly” and include:
- Very high fever or feeling hot or chills
- Muscle pain
- Cough or shortness of breath
- Abdominal pain
- Chest pain
- Bleeding from the nose and gums
After you become infected, it usually takes three to five days before the first symptoms appear.
Unfortunately, bird flu can cause more “severe” complications, such as pneumonia, making seeking medical attention a top priority.
Contact the NHS on 111 if you have any symptoms and have traveled to an area affected by avian flu within the past 10 days.
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