Avian influenza: the danger of mutations and spread

Avian influenza is an infectious disease caused by influenza type A virus. It circulates among wild birds, especially waterfowl, constantly, but usually does not cause severe symptoms. However, when in contact with pets and people, it can cause severe forms of the disease, which can lead to death.

The avian influenza virus mutates rapidly and can acquire new properties, including human-to-human transmission and increased pathogenicity. This occurs as the virus spreads and adapts to its host. The emergence of mutations and variants of avian influenza that are especially dangerous for humans can be facilitated by recombination (exchange of genetic material) when the virus comes into contact with other viruses.

Professor of the Department of Genomics and Bioinformatics of the Siberian Federal University Konstantin Krutovsky emphasized that the risks of the appearance of dangerous strains increase with the increase in cases of contact with people and animals. The world is constantly monitoring bird flu and its potential spread. Control over it includes the timely detection of outbreaks, the organization of quarantine and vaccination.

Why is quarantine declared in Moscow

Spring cases of detection of influenza in wild birds in Moscow are most likely associated with the seasonal migration of birds. They can carry bird flu over long distances. If infected birds migrate to areas where poultry lives, there is a risk of transmission of the virus to poultry, humans and animals.

Such events may also be associated with the occurrence of genetic mutations leading to the emergence of new, more pathogenic variants of the virus. Genome sequencing of the virus strains found in Moscow should help answer this question.

By order of Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin, quarantine was introduced in several districts of the capital due to cases of wild bird flu. For the period of quarantine, treatment of sick birds, import and export of birds, hatching eggs, movement and regrouping of birds is prohibited. In addition, the export of poultry slaughter products and other poultry products is prohibited; removal of feed for all types of animals with which sick birds may have come into contact, as well as the removal of feathers and down from dead birds.

How to protect yourself from bird flu

Vaccination is one of the methods of protection against bird flu. However, according to Professor Krutovsky, vaccines may not work against new strains of the virus, which may arise as a result of mutations and recombinations. Therefore, the main method of protection is to prevent contact with infected birds and their products. It is necessary to follow the rules of hygiene, wash your hands thoroughly after contact with animals and their products, do not eat raw eggs and poultry meat.

In conclusion, avian influenza is a serious threat to public health. It is necessary to take measures to control its spread and timely respond to foci of the disease. This is the only way to protect people and pets from the dangerous consequences of this virus.

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