(HorizonPost.com) – The World Health Organization has warned that the world should prepare for the next outbreak as the bird flu jumped from birds to mammals, according to The Daily Mail. Fears that the H5N1 strain will be found in humans next are increasing as it was already reported in otters, minks, and foxes.
The urgent message came when the WHO’s director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned nations to monitor infections in mammals. Referring to infections in humans, Ghebreyesus said that the possibility was low but added that we “cannot assume that will remain the case and we must prepare for any change in the status quo.”
H5N1 does not reportedly affect humans or other mammals easily so infections are uncommon, the outlet reports. Since 2003, there have been only 860 cases of humans being infected that were reported to the WHO. However, the bird flu is still considered deadly, killing 56% of those who come into contact with it. As a result, humans are advised not to touch sick or dead birds.
Nevertheless, experts are sounding the alarm that the jump to mammals could mean that the pathogen can mutate and become easier to infect humans, which would remove the obstacle to sweeping the world.
Marking a record number, an outbreak of the bird flu has already swept the United States with more than 58 million poultry and 6,100 wild birds impacted across nearly every state. The strain has reportedly been detected in 80 million birds and poultry since September 2021.
Experts are saying that it is spreading at speed and killing at an “unprecedented level,” leading some to call it the deadliest variant so far.
The news comes as the U.K. and Spain reported an avian influenza outbreak. Professor Rupert Beale, an immunology expert, said that there should already be contingency plans in place.
Copyright 2023, HorizonPost.com