Dec 18, 2012

Mutated Avian Viruses Transmitted to Humans More Easily

Mutating Bird Flu Virus
Via: DNAindia
 While the officials of animal husbandry & fisheries department are stressing on checking the spread of the avian influenza to within Hesaraghatta, experts say it is important to know the extent of mutation of the virus that affected the chickens, turkeys, ducks and emus to put in place adequate measures. Experts say mutated viruses have a higher capacity to infect birds and humans, and even as bird to human transmission is rare, the authorities are ignorant about the capacity of a mutated virus to infect human at a faster rate than before.
 “The only implication of mutation is the lack of immunity among people. This means that a mutated virus has a higher capacity of affecting many more compared to the original virus. However, whether the mutated virus would be more dangerous is debatable (in the absence of precisely knowing what the mutation is),” said Dr Hemanth HR, consultant, critical care medicine, BGS Global Hospital. However, the doctor assures that this doesn’t call for worry as human-to-human transmission of avian flu virus is, as of now, known to be extremely rare. “Avian flu gets transmitted from bird-to-bird easily. Even a bird-to-human transmission is not uncommon, specially among people who work in the poultry,” he said.However, scientists at High Security Animal Disease Laboratory who spoke to DNA on condition of anonymity, said as they were not able to establish the extent of mutation, it would be difficult to determine the capacity of the virus to cause human infections and also precisely how it would do that.
 But there is hope. Whether the virus is mutated or not, the treatment largely remains the same. “While more people are susceptible to a mutated virus, when it comes to treatment, both the original and mutated virus are treated similarly as per anti-viral medications are concerned. However, if there are vaccines available, it will be different for original and mutated virus,” said Dr Rajeev Moger, consultant, internal medicine, Apollo Hospitals. HSADL scientists, too, say that existing vaccines were developed using strains of the original H5N1 avian influenza virus. But the virus had much mutated after that, rendering those vaccines useless.
Moreover, while the symptoms of avian flu is similar to any other category of flues, the treatment is more or less the same for all of them.
No bird left to be culled at CPDOTI
 The department of animal husbandry and fisheries deployed 15 rapid response teams for cleaning the sheds at the Central Poultry Development Organisation & Training Institute (CPDOTI) on Thursday. All the birds at CPDOTI were culled along with those which were suspected to be affected by the avian influenza virus in a one-km radius around the institute. Surveillance work in the 10-km radius of the surveillance zone, which includes 68 villages in Hesaraghatta, is in progress. On Thursday, 74 more serum samples and 74 more cloacal samples (samples of openings to intestinal urinary and reproductive tracts) were collected and submitted to the High Security Animal Disease Laboratory (HSADL), Bhopal for investigation. Small eateries make a killing over bird flu
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