H5N8 Avian Flu
23/02/2021

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CONTEXT:
  • First case of H5N8 avian flu is detected among humans in Russia and hence, alerts World Health Organisation (WHO).
ABOUT:
  • AVIAN INFLUENZA OR H5N8 OR BIRD FLU is a highly contagious viral disease.
  • It can infect birds, humans and other animals. Occasionally mammals, including humans, may contract avian influenza.
  • There are no known cases of H5N8 in human beings.
  • Most forms of the virus are restricted to birds.
  • It is affecting several species of food-producing birds (chickens, turkeys, quails, guinea fowl, etc.), as well as pet birds and wild birds.
  • There is also no evidence that consumption of poultry meat or eggs could transmit the virus to humans. It is considered safe to eat properly cooked poultry products.
  • H5N8 avian influenza is a disease of birds, caused by Type “A” influenza viruses, which can affect several species of domestic poultry, such as chickens, turkeys, quails, guinea fowl, ducks, as well as pet birds, wild migratory birds and water fowl.
  • Influenza A viruses are classified into subtypes based on two surface proteins :
  1. Hemagglutinin (HA)
  2. Neuraminidase (NA).
IN INDIA:
  • With effect from 3rd September 2019, India has been declared free from Avian Influenza (H5N1), which has also been notified to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).
  • The declaration is a result of measures taken to control the recent outbreak of the disease at several places in Jharkhand, Bihar and Odisha and hence there is no presence of the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) Virus.
  • The status will last only till another outbreak is reported. India was last declared free of the disease in 2017.
                                                        
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