The Escalating Flight of the Fowl Flu

The Escalating Flight of the Fowl Flu

In 2003, the Avian Flu struck Asian countries, causing the mass slaughter of millions of fowl that were infected with the flu before falling into the hands and mouths of the community. Egg, chicken, and turkey prices skyrocketed in stores as hundreds of people, afflicted from eating the tainted meat, were weakened with flu-like symptoms as well as other, sometimes deadly, ailments. Although the bird flu had long been heard of since its disappearance after the pandemic in 2003-2007 and the smaller epidemics around the world, once again, in 2022, a new variant of the infamous bird flu is seen wreaking havoc in the already cost-stricken U.S.

In January of 2022, a wild duck in South Carolina tested positive for the first case of bird flu. Ever since then, cases have erupted, leading to the deaths of over 23 million chickens and turkeys. Prices for these poultry meats and the eggs they produce are expected to rise substantially in addition to the anticipated rise in Avian influenza as the cases for Covid-19 subside. Although this chaos had not hit the more western states: California, Utah, Washington, Nevada. Before its anticipated overtaking of the country’s poultry industry, here are some things you should know about the bird flu.

Bird flu is primarily transmitted by infected birds through nasal secretions, excreted substances, saliva, and, when in a human host, through the air on water droplets and pieces of dust. In addition to this, through further indirect transmission such as through feed, contact of feathers, or any material contact with an infected bird’s waste, limiting the spread of avian influenza from bird to bird is extremely difficult. Although contracting the Avian flu is typically considered rare, it can be transmitted to those who work in close proximity with birds, such as through a home chicken coop or through a chicken farm/factory, as well as through raw or undercooked poultry. 

Though the bird flu in humans is a rare occurrence, if one does contract the bird flu, the infected may encounter the following symptoms: fever, sore throat, muscle aches, headaches, and shortness of breath. As well as this, if you have any underlying conditions, it may raise the risk of attaining more life threatening complications, some of which include pneumonia, respiratory failure, heart failure, and such. Although cases have been low in the past, the mortality rate for bird flu is approximately 60%, which equals six deaths out of ten infected people.

Origin of the Bird Flu:

The strain of bird flu we see today, H5N1, originated in 1997 in Hong Kong, where it was first detected in humans, being the first time scientists and doctors had seen a strain that jumped directly from birds to humans. Before then, bird flu had posed little threat to humans, other than the large loss in bird products. From this outbreak, eighteen people were hospitalized and six had died. Since then, several other outbreaks in Asia, such as the 2005 eruption; Europe, and even the U.S, in the 2014-2015 outbreak.

Bird flu will be sure to cause trouble in our country and community. Prices of eggs and poultry will rise as well as panic and anxiety. But, even though bird flu still has not spread further westward, a word to the wise from me is that if you have chickens at home, in a coop, or if you have birds that you take care of, maybe lock them in their homes for the next month or two and, better yet, if you do touch them, use gloves…then burn the gloves.

Click the following link learn more about this topic: