A new strain of avian influenza has recently been found in Southeast Asia. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) warned that this new strain could be harmful to animal and human health. The virus is known as A(H5N6) and has been detected in the poultry in China. Thebird flu virus is very contagious. It can be spread between chickens, geese, and other poultry. The virus spreads quickly and deaths in the poultry can occur within just three days. Also, the FAO’s Chief Veterinary Officer reports that the virus has been detected in various places that are very far from one another, indicated just how quickly it spreads.
Although only one case of death has been reported from a human after being in contact with the poultry, the issue is still very worrisome. The big concern arises because many people all around the world consume the meat from these animals as a part of their everyday diets. The virus affects animal health because it can effect and spread so quickly, and can possibly be passed to humans through consumption. The good news is that there has only been one human death reported so this may suggest that the virus does not easily pass from poultry to humans. Although the virus is isolated to China, for know, Americans should always practice healthy and safe habits when handling/eating meat. Those who produce and trade poultry must make sure they detect and report the virus in the animals as closely as they can, and those who consume the meat should take all precautions while handling the meat such as washing hands, utensils, etc. Also they should be especially sure not to undercook meats. All who handle or come in contact should be careful until tactics can be found to slow, or eliminate the spread of the virus.