General Studies IIHealth

H10N3 bird flu strain


China has reported the world’s first human infection of the H10N3 bird flu strain.

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Risks associated with H10N3 Bird Flu

  • The risk of further infection with H10N3 is currently believed to be very low, with experts describing the case as “sporadic”.
  • The growing surveillance of avian influenza in the human population will result in more infections with bird flu viruses are being picked up.
  • In February, Russia reported the first human infection with the H5N8 virus that caused huge damage on poultry farms across Europe, Russia and East Asia last winter.

What is bird flu?

  • About:
    1. Bird flu, also known as Avian influenza (AI), is a highly contagious viral disease affecting several species of food-producing birds (chickens, turkeys, quails, guinea fowl, etc.) as well as pet birds and wild birds.
    2. Occasionally mammals, including humans, may contract avian influenza.

  • Types of Influenza Viruses:
    • Influenza viruses are grouped into three types; A, B, and C.
    • Only type A is known to infect animals and is zoonotic, meaning it can also infect humans.
      • Avian influenza virus subtypes include A(H5N1), A(H7N9), A(H9N2) and A(H10N3).
    • Type B and C mostly infect humans and typically cause mild disease.

  • Classification:
    • Influenza viruses are classified into subtypes based on two surface proteins, Hemagglutinin (HA) and Neuraminidase (NA).
      • For example, a virus that has an HA 7 protein and NA 9 protein is designated as subtype H7N9.
    • Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) A(H5N1) virus occurs mainly in birds and is highly contagious among them.
    • HPAI Asian H5N1 is especially deadly for poultry.

  • Impact:
    • Avian Influenza outbreaks can lead to devastating consequences for the country, particularly the poultry industry.
    • Farmers might experience a high level of mortality in their flocks, with rates often around 50%.

  • Prevention:
    Strict biosecurity measures and good hygiene are essential in protecting against disease outbreaks.

  • Eradication:
    • If the infection is detected in animals, a policy of culling infected and contact animals is normally used in an effort to rapidly contain, control and eradicate the disease.

  • India’s Status:

    1. Fresh cases of bird flu were reported in different states of India between December 2020-January 2021 causing alarm across the country.
    2. Previously in 2019, India was declared free from Avian Influenza (H5N1), which had also been notified to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).
    3. The OIE is an intergovernmental organization responsible for improving animal health worldwide. It is headquartered in Paris, France.

Source: The Hindu

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