Experts Warn H5N1 Bird Flu Outbreak Could Be Worse Than COVID-19; Meanwhile UK Sees Its Worst 100-Day Cough Outbreak

According to experts, the fatality rate of H5N1 bird flu is almost 50%, whereas the current COVID-19 fatality rate is 0.1%.

by Tashika Tyagi
Experts Warn H5N1 Bird Flu Outbreak Could Be Worse Than COVID-19; Meanwhile UK Sees Its Worst 100-Day Cough Outbreak

While many of us haven’t recovered from the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown, it seems like something much worse might hit us soon. According to experts, there is a threat of another global pandemic being posed right now by H5N1 bird flu. During a recent briefing by researchers, it was revealed that the H5N1 virus is approaching a critical threshold that can cause a pandemic 100 times worse than COVID-19.

H5N1 Bird Flu Outbreak Could Spark Global Pandemic: Experts

H5N1 bird flu
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Earlier this week, there were reports about avian flu outbreaks in a poultry facility in Michigan and an egg producer in Texas, USA. Soon after, The Daily Mail reported that there was a potential threat of a global bird flu pandemic. According to this report, experts believe that this bird flu outbreak could be “100 times worse than COVID.” These alarming concerns were raised during a briefing where experts on this matter discussed the potential threats of the H5N1 bird flu.

The experts believe this virus is “approaching a critical threshold” and can cause another global pandemic. They have also mentioned that the H5N1 flu can infect a wide range of mammals, including humans. If you’re wondering why experts are so concerned about this outbreak, then the answer lies in the fatality rate of this virus. According to WHO data, 52 out of every 100 patients infected with the H5N1 virus have died since 2003. This means the fatality rate of the H5N1 bird flu is about 50%. This is exceptionally high compared to the current COVID-19 fatality rate which is 0.1%.

Talking about this issue during the briefing, Dr Suresh Kuchipudi, a prominent bird flu researcher in Pittsburgh, said, “We are not really talking about a virus that is yet to make a jump, we are talking about a virus that is globally present, already infecting a range of mammals and is circulating… It is really high time that we are prepared.”

Another expert, John Fulton, said “This appears to be 100 times worse than COVID, or it could be if it mutates and maintains its high case fatality rate. Once it’s mutated to infect humans, we can only hope that the fatality rate drops.”

Also Read: World Health Day 2024: Embrace The Universal Right To Health With ‘My Health, My Right’!

Precautions To Keep In Mind To Stay Safe

H5N1 bird flu
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To stay safe from the looming threats of the H5N1 bird flu outbreak, you can follow the following precautions.

  1. Make sure to cook all poultry products thoroughly. This could help kill the virus.
  2. Wash hands frequently and maintain good hygiene. Try not to touch your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
  3. Cover your mouth and nose while coughing and sneezing.
  4. Avoid as much contact as you can with sick or dead birds and even their droppings. In case it isn’t avoidable, wear proper protective equipment.
  5. Seek medical help if you are experiencing symptoms of respiratory illness after potential exposure to the H5N1 virus.

100-Day Cough Outbreak In The UK

100-Day Cough UK
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Amid this concerning news, there are also reports of England seeing the biggest outbreak of the ‘100-day’ whooping cough in at least ten years. In January alone, there were 553 cases identified of whooping cough in the country. Officially called pertussis, whooping cough is a bacterial infection of the lungs and breathing tubes. It is caused by a bacteria called Bordetella pertussis. It is commonly called a ‘100-day cough’ as it can persist for weeks or even months. The ‘100-day cough’ is contagious and easily spread through droplets from coughs or sneezes.

According to England’s National Health Service (NHS), an individual must seek hospital treatment if the coughing is severe or the child is under six months old. There are vaccinations available in hospitals for this cough and the NHS has urged people to take all the necessary protection needed to fight whooping cough.

This information is not intended to scare you all. Our intention is to make you all aware and provide precautionary steps to stay safe and healthy!

Cover Image Courtesy: Canva (representative image)