Expert comment on the worldwide rise in cases of avian influenza
As the number of cases of avian influenza continues to rise, Dr Emma Taylor a Research Fellow in the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Surrey, who has also recently become a Surrey Future Fellow, provides an insight into the virus and how it spreads.
“Bird flu, otherwise known as avian influenza, is a virus which infects many wild bird populations but also poses a risk to domestic, and commercial bird populations. The virus, transmitted through direct contact between birds, as well as through contaminated faeces, feathers, and shared feeding and watering containers, demands a collaborative effort to combat its spread. While transmission to other animals is uncommon, there have been rare cases of human infection, primarily among individuals working closely with birds.
“The recent reports of human cases of infection serves as a reminder of the importance of enhanced global disease surveillance, and the need for stringent infection prevention and control measures. At the University of Surrey, researchers are investigating how bird behaviour, and the environment contribute to the transmission of bird flu. By gaining a better understanding of the disease, we can respond more rapidly to potential outbreaks. It is important for individuals to follow government guidelines if they have concerns about bird flu.”