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Bird Flu Outbreak

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A new bird flu outbreak is spreading across the world, affecting animals, especially birds.

This highly pathogenic avian influenza, known as H5N1, resurfaced in Europe in 2020 and has now reached every continent except some parts of Oceania.

Australia has detected different strains, raising concerns about its spread to nearby regions like New Zealand.

Avian influenza viruses usually have “low pathogenicity,” meaning they are not highly contagious and often infect wild birds like seagulls. However, H5 and H7 viruses can mutate and become highly contagious and deadly when they infect poultry like chickens.

The H5N1 strain was first detected in Hong Kong in 1997 and reappeared in China in 2003, spreading rapidly across the globe. While not as catastrophic as feared, it caused the deaths of hundreds of millions of birds and significant economic losses.

Bird-to-human transmission during the current outbreak has been rare. The virus spreads through direct contact with infected birds or their bodily fluids.

 

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