Why in news:
- H5N1 has caused unprecedented loss of tens of thousands of birds in the U.K.
- The annual congregations on breeding grounds quickly turned into a super-spreader event as highly pathogenic H5N1 ripped through bird colonies, leaving many lying dead on the beaches or remote islands.
- The world’s largest northern gannet colony at the Bass Rock, an island off the coast of North Berwick, Scotland has been recently decimated by avian influenza (H5N1) or bird flu.
More about H5N1:
- Avian influenza or bird flu refers to the disease caused by infection with avian (bird) influenza (flu) Type A viruses.
- These viruses naturally spread among wild aquatic birds worldwide and can infect domestic poultry and other bird and animal species.
- Bird flu viruses do not normally infect humans. However, sporadic human infections with bird flu viruses have occurred.
- Infected birds can shed avian influenza A viruses in their saliva, nasal secretions, and faeces.
- Susceptible birds become infected when they have contact with the virus as it is shed by infected birds.
- They also can become infected through contact with surfaces that are contaminated with virus from infected birds.
- Clinical signs of H5N1 in birds range from mild like decrease in egg production, nasal discharge, coughing and sneezing, to severe including loss of coordination, energy, and appetite; soft-shelled or misshapen eggs; purple discoloration of the wattles, head, eyelids, combs, and hocks; and diarrhea.
- Sometimes the first noticeable sign is sudden death.