Another Avian Influenza Virus Strain Invades Southern U.S. States
A new strain of Avian influenza that was present in Europe only last year has been reported in the southern states of North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and Florida, Food Safety NewS (FSN) reported.
Photo Insert: While the HPAI virus is not easily transmissible from birds to people, health officials are concerned it could develop into another form that spreads readily from person to person, triggering another pandemic.
It is another highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) strain. Bird flu strains rarely infect humans, with fewer than 1,000 US cases per year, according to the Mayo Clinic.
The strains of the influenza virus mainly infect birds. The public must not handle sick or dead birds. People should report sightings of birds killed to wildlife officials. Human infections typically result from person-to-person contacts, such as a cough or a sneeze, in two to eight days, with flu-like symptoms.
The HPAI virus is not easily transmissible from birds to people. Still, health officials are concerned it could develop into another form that spreads readily from person to person, triggering another pandemic.
Samples collected by USDA’s Wildlife Services in January from hunter-harvested blue-winged teal in Palm Beach County, Florida, tested positive for the HPAI strain: H5N1 188.8.131.52b Eurasian.
The Florida finding follows reports in the other southern states during the fall and winter months of 2021-2022. The strain first appeared in Europe in 2021. Wildlife Services is monitoring bird kills for HPAI strains.
According to USDA, wild birds can carry multiple strains of the avian influenza viruses, most of which do not cause disease.
Transmission of low pathogenic strains cause minimal signs of disease in domestic poultry and can result in changes in the virus and the formation of more highly pathogenic strains, which can cause significant illness in domestic poultry.