The United Nations (UN) for Food and Agriculture (FAO) has advised increasing surveillance and control mechanisms to cope with a possible outbreak of a variant of the epidemic. 'H5N1' virus of the bird flu "highly pathogenic", after verifying that the virus is spreading through various Asian countries and that, for the moment, it has "an unpredictable risk to human health".

Specifically, the veterinary services of Vietnam are already on alert and would be considering carrying out a new vaccination campaign directed this autumn, since the circulation of the virus in Vietnam poses a direct threat to Cambodia, Thailand Y Malaysia, while also endangering the peninsula of Korea already Japan.

"The general trend since the progressive decline of the virus observed in 2004-2008 could mean a resurgence of H5N1 this fall or winter, with people unexpectedly finding the virus in their own home," the Chief Veterinary Officer has warned. FAO, Juan Lubroth.

"The countries in which the 'H5N1' is firmly established - Bangladesh, China, Egypt, India, Indonesia and Vietnam - will probably face more problems, but there is no country that can be considered safe"

"The countries in which the 'H5N1' is firmly established - Bangladesh, China, Egypt, India, Indonesia and Vietnam - will probably face more problems, but there is no country that can be considered safe," he added. time that has explained that "it is not time to ignore the danger" and that "nobody can lower the guard before the H5N1".

FAO is reminded that, according to data published by the World Health Organization (WHO), the H5N1 virus has infected 565 people since it first appeared in 2003, killing 311 of them. The last death occurred at the beginning of the month in Cambodia, where eight cases of infection in humans have been recorded this year, all of which are fatal.

Since 2003, H5N1 has also caused the death - or forced to sacrifice - to more than 400 million poultry, causing losses amounting to more than 13,000 million euros (20,000 million dollars) around the world until it could be eliminated in most of the 63 affected countries at the peak of the epidemic, in 2006.

A virus resistant to vaccines

The virus has become endemic in six countries, although the number of outbreaks in domestic poultry and in the wild bird population decreased markedly from an annual maximum of 4,000 to only 302 in mid-2008. But outbreaks have increased progressively since then, with about 800 cases registered in 2010-2011.

The renewed geographical expansion of the 'H5N1' virus in 2008, both in poultry and among wild birds, according to Lubroth, could be related to the movements of migratory birds, which contribute to the virus being able to travel long distances, so that, in the last 24 months, the 'H5N1' has appeared in poultry or wild in countries that had remained free of the virus for years. However, the expert says that "wild birds can introduce the virus, but the performance of people in poultry production and marketing make it spread."

Among the countries where the affected areas were recently detected are Israel, Palestine, Bulgaria, Romania, Nepal and Mongolia, although the new variant has only been detected in China and Vietnam, where it has been found that "it is able to dodge defenses that provide the existing vaccines. "

UN warns of mutated bird flu (November 2019).