The H5N1 Avian Influenza is now ravaging the US in what many are calling the worst epidemic in years. It has now expanded to 34 US states, and led to the deaths through infection or culling of more than of 37 million birds.
More alarmingly, it has also led to the first American human transmission of the H5N1 virus, a Colorado prisoner who was laboring at a poultry farm. Using PCR, his infection was confirmed, and the WHO says that he recovered after being given antiviral drugs.
Another human case in China, the first ever with the H3N8 virus, occurred in a four year old boy, whose situation was significantly more severe. He was hospitalized after he developed pneumonia and respiratory failure, and was admitted to the ICU for antiviral treatment too.
After the worlds experience with COVID, which some scientists believe may have been caused by a similar case of animal-human transmission, many are wondering if the world is even less prepared to deal with a new outbreak after weariness from the last two and half years.
Many scientists suggest that the risk of continuous human-human transmission would be low if it again makes the jump, but with the US poultry population almost double the human population, even a single case of transmission could devastate the world, necessitating serious action and disease surveillance on the part of the politically damaged CDC.
Canadian data suggests that the HPAI influenza strain has already made the jump to mammals, leading to the death of foxes there, implying that through mutations it is increasingly able to jump between species.