Just after the first world war The 1918 flu pandemic infected 500 million people across the world and killed between 50 to 100 million of them, three to five percent of the world's population making it one of the deadliest natural disasters in human history.
The cause was Avian influenza and scientists say it will strike again
Maybe it's because Ebola is in the news so much this winter and of course the terrible terrorist attacks don't help and then all the wind rain and snow storms we have been having recently but there is another global threat rearing it's ugly head again and the media and the Internet have so far ignored.
Avian influenza is once again increasing rapidly as outbreaks are being reported in North America, Europe, Africa and Asia just this month and so far it's not shown up on the media radar!
Just today The U.S. Department of Agriculture confirmed the presence of two different strains of H5 avian flu virus in wild birds in Whatcom County State of Washington.
Meanwhile over the border in Canada Avian influenza has been detected at a Langley farm, the furthest point east the virus has been detected since the outbreak began two weeks ago. The outbreak in those barns was confirmed Saturday, affecting another table-egg-laying 53,000 birds and hiking the total number of poultry to be destroyed up to 233,800. The virus has now been detected at 10 farms, although two of those farms are located on the same Abbotsford property. All the previously disclosed infected sites were based in Abbotsford or Chilliwack. Last Friday, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) confirmed that the virus had been detected at a 7,000-bird Abbbotsford farm that previously been under investigation. At least 180,000 birds have now either already died or been euthanized.
A poultry farm in the central Dutch village of Hekendorp has had all 150.000 birds killed and a local ban has been imposed on transporting poultry after the discovery of avian influenza.
Authorities gave no details of what strain of bird flu had been found, but previous outbreaks in Europe and Asia have proven highly contagious and have on occasion jumped the species barrier to humans, prompting fears of an epidemic.
Authorities said they were carrying out inspections at two other poultry farms within a one km radius of the site, and imposed a 21-day ban on transporting poultry, eggs, dung or used straw in the same area. Some 10,000 chickens were destroyed in March after bird flu was found at a farm in the eastern Dutch province of Gelderland.
German authorities on Tuesday ordered the cull of thousands of farm animals after a bird flu outbreak was confirmed as the highly pathogenic H5N8 strain. The precautionary move came after the discovery at a poultry farm in a rural region of Lower Saxony state. Regional agricultural minister Christian Meyer said that 19,000 animals at the site and another 12,000 turkeys at a neighbouring farm would be slaughtered. He said the strain detected in the Cloppenburg district was the same as that found at another farm in November in Schleswig-Holstein state. Meyer expressed concern that the virus could spread quickly.
Germany has reported cases of the deadly bird flu virus H5N8 on a turkey farm in the country's northeast, according to the World Organisation for Animal Health. Over 30,000 turkeys are set to be slaughtered following the discovery of the dangerous virus at the farm in the state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. "H5N8 [influenza] has been found in at least one turkey at the farm in Heinrichswalde,"
Italy has reported an outbreak of the highly pathogenic H5N8 bird flu virus on a turkey farm in the northeastern part of the country near Venice, the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) said on Tuesday. The strain, which has never been detected in humans, is the same as in other cases found in Germany, the Netherlands and Britain since early November and which devastated bird flocks in Asia - mainly South Korea - earlier this year. More than 1,200 birds were found dead from the virus at a fattening turkey farm in Porto Viro, the Paris-based OIE reported on its website, citing the Italian health ministry. "High mortality was reported during the last two days. Control measures will be applied in the restriction zones established," the ministry said in the report. Culling on the farm of more than 30,000 birds was due to start on Tuesday,
The Egyptian Health Ministry reported (computer translated) on two new human H5N1 avian influenza cases, the 6th and 7th cases this year from the North African country. The last case reported in Egypt was in late September. According to the ministry press release, the first case was reported in a three-year-old child from Minia Governorate. The epidemiology investigation shows the child was exposed to birds at home.
India. The Kerala Animal Husbandry department today confirmed that the death of thousands of ducks in Kuttanad area in Alappuzha and Kottayam districts was due to bird lu. The department said that it was due to the widespread attack of Avian Influenza virus, which was confirmed by the High Security Animal Disease Laboratory in Bhopal. More than ten thousand ducks have already died due to the virus attack during last couple of weeks causing huge loss to the farmers.
The government of the Miyazaki Prefecture in southern Japan on Tuesday morning reported that three birds at a poultry farm in the city of Nobeoka have tested postive for a highly pathogenic H5 strain of avian influenza.
According to the prefecture, the farm reported 16 chickens' death Monday, of which three preliminarily tested positive for bird flu. Ten chickens had died the day before, but tests results were negative. The local government is culling roughly 4,000 chickens raised at the farm.
Northern Japan. A highly pathogenic avian influenza virus has been detected in duck droppings collected Tuesday in the town of Nagara in Chiba Prefecture, the Environment Ministry said Friday. The H5N8 subtype was found first in a genetic test by the Chiba prefectural government on Thursday and was later confirmed in a further test by the National Institute of Animal Health. This marks the second discovery of a highly pathogenic bird flu virus in the country this season, following one in Shimane Prefecture. The ministry will now raise the nationwide bird flu alert level from 2 to 3.
Influenza viruses circulating in animals pose threats to human health. Humans can become ill when infected with viruses from animal sources, such as avian influenza virus subtypes H5N1 and H9N2 and swine influenza virus subtypes H1N1 and H3N2. The primary risk factor for human infection appears to be direct or indirect exposure to infected live or dead animals or contaminated environments.