Avian Influenza Concern is Rising
The risk of avian influenza, which led to an outbreak in Turkey for the first time in 2006, made news now and then with the culling of animals, and the threat of human transmission. Nowadays avian influenza, or bird flu, is becoming an escalating issue again. The European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) has released a cautionary observation on avian influenza, which shows similar symptoms to other upper respiratory tract diseases but shows very severe progress. The report is based on the current information gathered from Europe between 3 December 2022 and 1 March 2023. Accordingly, the H5N1 variant of the avian flu virus, identified with a high virulence (HPAI), was detected in a total of 522 domestic and more than 1000 wild bird species.
Avian influenza is reported spreading rapidly among sea birds, mainly seagulls, but particularly black-headed gulls. Based on the analysis, the virus is moving southwards from Central Europe and unfortunately, mass mortality cases were observed among birds. The ECDC says they expect the disease to increase in contact with poultry, pointing out that the virus will spread from wetland to inland areas due to the upcoming migration and breeding seasons. Although the transmission of the avian influenza virus from animal to human is normally low, analyses show that the virus has adapted an increased potential to leap to humans (zoonosis) owing to recent mutations. Due to this situation, the ECDC predicts that the disease will pose a serious threat to humans, especially through exposure to the poultry industry. The discovery of the virus in 6 people in the last 5 months confirms this prediction.
Black-headed gulls, the most affected bird species by the avian influenza virus, also inhabit Turkey. In Romania and Turkey’s border neighbor Bulgaria, avian influenza was identified in both poultry and wild birds between December and March, the ECDC’s observation reveals. With the end of the spring season and the warming of the weather, an increase in avian influenza cases could be reported in Turkey soon.
Avian influenza virus, or influenza A, shows similar symptoms to other upper respiratory tract diseases and is classified into 15 types. As recommended by the Ministry of Health, the identification of HPAI (highly pathogenic avian influenza) virus types that can cause disease in humans is crucial for the diagnosis of avian influenza. As Anatolia Geneworks, we genuinely pay attention to possible outbreaks and continue our studies on HPAI viruses, as early diagnosis of infectious diseases makes a vital difference in the prevention and treatment of diseases. In this respect, we recommend our avian flu panel, Influenza Typing Kit v2 Multiplex, which is specifically designed for the detection of the most severe and common avian influenza types HPAI H5 and HPAI H7.