Even though the whole world is still struggling with the pandemic promoted by the Coronavirus, many experts fear that the avian flu be the next pandemic that humanity has to face. Although, in 2009 the swine flu already gave the world a good scare, leaving hundreds of thousands of deaths, and the feeling that something like this could happen again.
However, the Coronavirus has been much higher than expected given its high level of transmission, being a pandemic that has put all sectors of the population on edge. Currently, the world has more than 175 million infected and 3.7 million deaths, alarming data that make society already more than sensitized to the situation.
Avian flu, the new pandemic that scares the world
Now, when we believe that we have already escaped the clutches of the Coronavirus, researchers have raised alarms by the recent human infections of different strains of bird flu. A few days ago, China confirmed the first human infection of one of the variants, called H10N3. This is one of the subtypes of bird flu that is usually the most deadly for wild and poultry birds, since it is spread through aerosols, as do colds and Covid-19.
With the intention of calming the population, the Chinese authorities confirmed that the risk of epidemic was low since there were no human-to-human infections and the patient seemed to have been infected in a specific way through a bird. In addition, he had managed to recover and was going to be discharged, which in theory shows the low pathogenicity of bird flu.
These are the most dangerous variants of bird flu
This latest case in China has brought to mind the threat created by bird flu in 2009. Thus, two Chinese experts, Gao Fu and Shi Weifeng, warned in the journal ‘Science’ of the enormous pandemic potential of another type of bird flu: H5N8 . This type of variant has already caused outbreaks in birds in 46 countries, including Spain.
In fact, in February he made the leap to humans in Russia, where seven workers on a chicken farm were infected and had mild symptoms. However, the study authors caution that H5N8 is a “risk that cannot be ignored.”
In addition to the H5N8 variant, another that worries experts is H7N9, whose first human infection was detected in 2013; also in China and killed 600 people by 2017. Despite the fact that most of these outbreaks are linked to animal markets, the WHO warns that it is an “unusually dangerous for humans” virus because its mortality is 39 percent of cases.
But the subtype of bird flu that worries the most worldwide is H5N1, a strain discovered in Hong Kong in 1997 that forced the slaughter of all birds. In fact, of 18 human infections, six lost their lives.
This strain was stopped until 2003, when it returned to circulate again in China and Southeast Asia infecting more than 600 people until 2014. 378 died, indicating a fatality of 59%, which causes some concern among researchers, who They see how a new global pandemic may be possible sooner rather than later.