AVIAN INFLUENZA (Syllabus: GS Paper 3 – Sci and Tech)

News-CRUX-10     28th October 2023        
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Context: Scientists have detected the presence of avian flu for the first time in the Antarctic region, raising concerns for remote populations of penguins and seals.

  • The Highly Pathogenic Avian Influence (HPAI) was detected in brown skua (a predatory seabird) populations on Bird Island, South Georgia, making it the first known case in the Antarctic region.

Avian Influenza

  • About: Influenza A viruses can be categorized into avian influenza (commonly known as bird flu) and swine influenza (often referred to as swine flu0), depending on their origin host.
  • These viruses are distinct from human influenza viruses and do not readily spread among humans.
  • Classification: The terms "H" and "N" in the names of flu viruses represent hemagglutinin and neuraminidase, two proteins found on the virus's surface that facilitate its entry into and exit from host cells.

oHemagglutinin and neuraminidase were the initial components of the flu virus to be identified, leading to its nomenclature.

  • Primary Reservoir: Aquatic birds, and these birds often experience asymptomatic or mild infections.
  • Impact:

oAvian Influenza outbreaks can lead to devastating consequences for the country, particularly the poultry industry.

oFarmers might experience a high level of mortality in their flocks, with rates often around 50%.