History of bird flu and how it spreads
- Bird Flu or Avian Influenza is caused by Influenza Type A virus that cause acute respiratory illness in birds
- The first case of Bird Flu was recorded in China in 1996 when geese were infected
- The infection spreads through the droppings of aquatic migratory birds
China, on Tuesday, reported the first human infection case of the H10N3 strain of the bird flu virus. However, it said that the risk of it spreading among people was low.
The 41-year-old patient, who was admitted to a hospital in eastern China’s Zhenjiang, located in the Jiangsu province on April 28, was diagnosed with H10N3 exactly a month later, and is currently in a stable condition, as per various news reports.
The bird flu or avian influenza is a viral infection that causes acute respiratory problems in birds. However, in some rare cases, the infections also spread to other animals. Humans who work in poultry farms and come in close contact with these birds are also at risk of contracting this disease.
This virus had appeared for the first time in geese in China. Bird Flu is caused by Influenza Type A viruses. The infection spreads through the droppings of aquatic migratory birds who travel from one place to another. Since 1996 when it was first detected, the virus has spread to about 50 countries.
Also Read | What is H10N3 strain of bird flu?
The first time the virus was detected in a human was in Hong Kong in 1997. It was a variant strain of the same virus. Between 2003 to 2014, the World Health Organization (WHO) had recorded 701 cases and 407 deaths caused by the H5N1 virus.
The first recorded case in India happened in Maharashtra and Gujarat in 2006. It has spread to different states like Kerala and West Bengal as well. However, no human has been infected with the virus to date in the country. In 2019, India had declared itself free from bird flu. Now, cases have resurfaced again.
This virus has the potential to cause a pandemic if the virus mutates itself. Besides respiratory illness, the H5N1 virus can also cause sore throat, fever, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. Out of 10 reported cases, six lead to deaths in humans. It can be treated with antiviral drugs like oseltamivir.