Avian influenza: no higher risk of influenza

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Avian influenza: no higher risk of influenza
Avian influenza: no higher risk of influenza

No higher risk of flu pandemic from bird flu

The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) sees no fundamentally increased risk of the development of an influenza virus due to the current bird flu cases in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, which could trigger a worldwide flu epidemic. This would only be the case if the pathogen gained the ability to spread efficiently from person to person.

As the institute announced on Wednesday in an assessment of the current situation, every find means a certain increase in risk. More important than individual diseases in wild birds, with which the population usually does not come into direct contact, are large outbreaks in poultry in regions where there is close contact between the animals and humans - such as in Southeast Asia. If influenza viruses are circulating at the same time, the feared exchange of genetic material could then occur in the body, which would enable the jump from person to person. In this context, however, the RKI once again points out that the World He alth Organization is currently assuming that the risk of a pandemic will be much higher than in the last few decades.

The Friedrich Loeffler Institute has so far been able to detect the H5N1 virus in 103 wild birds, 101 of which came from Rügen and two from the mainland. The nine suspected cases most recently examined – mute swans, birds of prey and a gray heron from Eastern Western Pomerania, Greifswald and Rostock – did not carry the virus. Sick or dead wild birds should not be touched for reasons of hygiene. The World He alth Organization also points out that no case of illness has ever been observed after contact with wild birds.

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