Are we heading towards a bird flu epidemic? A new species of infected mammal, experts are worried

Are we heading towards a bird flu epidemic? A new species of infected mammal, experts are worried
Are we heading towards a bird flu epidemic? A new species of infected mammal, experts are worried

Cases of Avian Flu were detected in alpacas from a breeding farm in the northwest of UNITED STATESannounced the American Department of Agriculture on Tuesday, at a time when this virus is spreading on farms in the United States and two human cases were recorded there.

The National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) have confirmed the detection of a variant highly pathogenic avian influenza –HPAI H5N1– “in alpacas on facilities where poultry infected with avian flu had been removed in May 2024”indicates the ministry in a press release.

This is the first time that the virus is detected in alpacas, the press release specifies.

This camelid, native to the Andes, is raised mainly for its wool.

In recent years, the HPAI H5N1 variant has been found in more than 50 animal speciesincluding since March among breeding cattle in the USA.

Around fifty herds in the country have been affected and two infections in humans have been reported. The two individuals diagnosed, farm employees, experienced symptoms alleviatedlike conjunctivitis.

Experts are concerned about increasing number of mammals infected with the diseasealthough cases in humans remain rare.

There is no evidence of human-to-human transmission at this time, but scientists fear that high circulation could facilitate mutation of the virus which would allow it to pass from one human to another.

The World Health Organization (WHO) had expressed its “huge concern” mid-April in the face of the increasing spread of avian flu to new species.

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