Bird Flu is not new, but the increase in its presence and publicity has left many people feeling worried and confused. Here’s a quick guide to bird flu and the associated risks.
What is Bird Flu?
Bird Flu and Avian Influenza are the same thing. There are several different variants. The one currently doing the rounds is called H5N1 and it’s highly pathogenic. This means it is highly likely to kill BIRDS who catch it.
H5N1 is particularly nasty for birds as it also highly contagious, so the chances of BIRDS catching it from INFECTED BIRDS is high. Therefore, it is policy to cull all the birds in a flock even if only one bird is infected.
How is Bird Flu Spread Between Birds?
Bird Flu is transmitted when certain birds come into contact with feathers, droppings or secretions from infected birds who are alive or dead. All forms of poultry, waterfowl, gulls, and birds of prey are particularly susceptible. Interestingly, garden birds don’t seem to be able to catch it!
The World Health Organisation wrote a report in late November 2022 that stated, in the past 20 years, there had been 856 cases of H5N1 in humans WORLDWIDE. 456 of those cases were fatal. To put that fact into context, 500,000 people have been killed by dogs over the same period worldwide. You are 1,000 times more likely to be killed by a dog than die from bird flu!
Where Are Most Humans Infected?
The vast majority of human cases so far have happened in Asia where people live in close proximity to their animals, hygiene can be poor and healthcare inadequate. The main way humans become infected is through direct or indirect exposure to infected live or dead poultry or contaminated environments, such as live bird markets. Bird shows and auctions are currently banned in the UK, mostly to prevent transmission between birds.
Can Bird Flu be Transmitted Between People?
There is no evidence that H5N1 can spread from person to person, nor is there any evidence to suggest bird flu can be transmitted to humans through properly prepared poultry or eggs. All the evidence gathered by national and international organisations show that the risk of humans contracting bird flu is ‘very low’.
Most actions have a risk and a benefit. Keeping your own chickens is one where the benefits for you and your family far outweigh the risks! Our range of chicken coops are incredibly easy to keep clean and disinfect, keeping both you and your birds safe. Explore our range of easy-clean coops here.