Bird Flu in Japan

Recently, bird flu of the H5 subtype has spread to eight regions of Japan. The virus has been most likely been brought to the country through migratory birds.  Although the officials say that humans cannot catch the bird flu through eggs and meat, authorities suspect that the virus may spread across species, to infect humans.

The authorities fear that it can lead to serious problems like COVID-19.

What is Bird Flu?

  • Bird flu, also called avian influenza, refers to the disease caused by infection with viruses adapted by birds usually Type A viruses.
  • These viruses are found in wild aquatic birds naturally and can infect domestic poultry and other bird and animal species.
  • The bird flu or avian influenza is divided into two types on the basis of pathogenicity namely low pathogenicity (LP) and high pathogenicity (HP).
  • H5N1 is the most common form of avian influenza or bird flu. Though most forms of the virus are restricted to birds, infrequent human infections with avian flu viruses have occurred.

Record culling in Japan after Bird Flu

The Government has ordered all farms to carry out disinfection and maintain hygiene standards. The country is said to have culled nearly 2.5 million chickens since the outbreak began. This has broken the previous culling record of 1.83 million in April 2010. Japan has also stopped poultry imports from European countries for now.

The flu was started in the Kagawa region on Shikoku Island.

Bird Flu in 2020

Many European countries like the UK, Germany, Belgium, France, Denmark, the Netherlands, Ireland, Sweden, etc. have reported outbreaks of bird flu after mid-October 2020. As per a report by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), 3 varieties of high pathogenicity Avian flu viruses were found in the A (H5N5), A (H5N8), and A (H5N1). Out of the three, the most common was H5N8.

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