Bird flu is gripping Europe: six questions answered

We answer the most important questions to Tijs Quinken, Professor of Comparative Pathology at Erasmus University.

1. How to identify a bird with bird flu?

The virus that now spreads mainly to the brain. The birds turn their necks. They can no longer fly, can often fall down and walk or swim in circles.

In the tweet below you see a bird with bird flu:

2. What variation is coming around now, and why is it so dangerous?

“A variant of the H5 subspecies is now in vogue. You can not control it. “

There is a good chance that we will often face viral outbreaks and infections in the future. Our own factory farms are also the perfect breeding ground for viruses. You can see why in the video below:

3. Is this virus dangerous to humans?

“It’s dangerous for people. About 60 people have been infected with the virus, half of them dead. It happened in China and Laos. In Europe, the risk is very low because we do not have close contact.

“But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Europe have increased the risk estimate for individuals handling chickens professionally from low to low average.”

4. Why does Killing work less with this variation?

“About thirty years ago, the virus was very low. Measures taken at that time made it possible to eradicate the virus. But now the number of chickens is high, which means that the virus is spreading rapidly.

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“As a result, with the wild birds carrying the virus, extinction is no longer possible. The virus persists in the environment.

5. Why should chickens not be vaccinated against bird flu?

“The vaccine is a good idea, but Europe has not chosen it. Countries outside of Europe, such as China and Egypt, have been vaccinated against the virus. There were only extra costs. “

“In addition, 70 percent of poultry production is exported abroad, mainly to Great Britain and Germany. They were against the vaccine. But those countries now face the same problem, so I think they now look at the vaccine differently.”

6. What long-term activities can work?

“Vaccination is a temporary measure. The sector needs to be restructured to prevent the spread of bird flu and other viruses in the future. The availability of chickens should be minimized, especially if it is prudent to keep chickens low. Farms and companies are not close to each other.”

“In addition, it is wise to exclude poultry farms in areas where there are many waterfowl, because you can not close the chicken houses from the environment. Not only is it important to look after the health of the chickens in this environment. People who live close to the birds live in these houses. With farms together, the risk of spreading is reduced. “

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