Bio Prep Watch: EU warns of potential bird flu pandemic threat to humans due to lack of immune defense

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has issued a warning about the potential for a human pandemic as avian influenza continues to spread among wild birds in the European Union. The transmission of the virus between bird and mammal species has been observed, particularly in fur animal farms, raising concerns about the possibility of new strains emerging in the future as the virus evolves globally.

In light of these developments, EFSA is recommending steps to limit exposure and prevent the spread of avian influenza to mammals and humans. These steps include enhancing surveillance efforts, utilizing rapid diagnostics, implementing vaccination programs, and promoting collaboration between the animal and human health sectors.

Meanwhile, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has confirmed that a person in Texas has tested positive for H5N1 bird flu after exposure to infected dairy cattle. Despite this case, the general public health risk assessment for the US remains low. However, the CDC notes that close or prolonged exposure to infected birds or animals can increase the risk of infection.

Currently, human-to-human transmission of H5N1 bird flu is not easily transmissible. However, infectious diseases experts emphasize the importance of practicing proper infection prevention techniques to minimize the risk of contact with novel influenza strains. Recommendations include practicing good hand hygiene, receiving the annual influenza vaccine, and avoiding contact with birds and wild animals whenever possible.

It is crucial for individuals to stay informed about the latest developments regarding avian influenza and to take necessary precautions to protect themselves and their communities from potential outbreaks. By following best practices and remaining vigilant, we can work together to prevent the spread of avian influenza and protect public health.

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