H5N1 avian flu strain poses existential threat to poultry industry and potential human health threat.
The H5N1 strain of avian flu is a major threat to the poultry industry in the United States and a potential widespread human health threat. This strain of bird flu is responsible for the deaths of nearly 58 million birds in the U.S. in the past year, with a near 100% fatality rate among birds. It has also caused the prices of poultry and eggs to skyrocket, making them harder to come by. While human-to-human transmission of this virus is rare, it has been documented in seven individuals since 2020, with the most recent case being a previously healthy Ecuadorian girl. Symptoms of the virus in humans are typically more severe than seasonal flu and the seasonal flu vaccine does not cover H5N1. The virus is also thought to have been responsible for the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic and experts are concerned that it could cause a similar pandemic if it begins to spread among humans. The poultry industry is in deep trouble due to the virus and must change biosecurity procedures to prevent further spread. As such, the H5N1 strain of avian flu is a cause for concern and should be monitored closely to prevent a potential pandemic.