UK: First human case of Avian flu

United Kingdom has reported the first human case of Avian flu. A 79-year-old man named Alan Gosling is the first UK resident to catch the H5N1 strain of bird flu. He kept pet ducks at his home in England.

What is Avian Influenza?

Avian influenza is also known as avian flu or bird flu. It is a type of influenza caused by viruses adapted to birds. The type with greatest risk is highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI). It is similar to swine flu, horse flu, dog flu, and human flu, because illness caused by strains of influenza viruses in all the flu adapts to a specific host.

Types of influenza viruses

Out of the three types of influenza viruses namely A, B, and C, influenza A virus is a zoonotic infection. It is having a natural reservoir almost entirely in birds. For most purposes, Avian influenza refers to the influenza A virus. Influenza A is adapted to birds, but it can also stably adapt and sustain person-to-person transmission.

Types of influenza based on Pathogenicity

Based on pathogenicity, Avian influenza strains are divided into two types:

  1. High pathogenicity (HP)
  2. Low pathogenicity (LP).

H5N1 strain of Avian influenza

H5N1 is the most commonly known HPAI strain. It was first isolated from a farmed goose in 1996, in Guangdong Province of China. It also has low pathogenic strains found in North America.

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