For this, the vice president of the Official College of Veterinarians of Seville, Santiago Sanchez-Apellaniz Garciagranted an interview to the ABC newspaper, which the school itself now shares on its website and in which they deal with clarify some aspects of Avian Influenza, a highly contagious viral disease among birds that can affect humans, although the probability of contagion to people is low, and where the official veterinary services and the Livestock Sanitary Defense Groups are essential for the control of this type of emerging diseases.
Thus, Sánchez-Apellániz wanted to clarify that, despite the fact that more than thirty farms in Andalusia have had to sacrifice their birds due to avian flu, “you can’t talk about a pandemic because, although outbreaks have been detected in different countries, it is not yet a global disease”, also recalling that in countries such as France or Italy the situation is worse than in Andalusia.
Faced with this proliferation of cases, the College has also wanted to stress that “the most important measure is biosecurity: in the hygiene and disinfection of farms, in the movement of animals, in transport vehicles, in the external services of the farm (feed…), in the movement of personnel, among others”.
They also recall that “the virus can develop both in closed farms and in open-air farms. When an alert is declared due to the presence of a virus, one of the first measures is prohibit concentrations and open-air production in the affected areas“. For this, it is important to pay attention to possible symptoms, such as “loss of egg laying, decreased consumption of feed and water, fever and high mortality in a short space of time that includes 100% of the census” and “take samples of oropharyngeal, tracheal and cloacal swabs, and blood to confirm or rule out the disease.
Danger to humans?
Regarding the possible transmission from birds to humans through ingestion, Sánchez-Apellániz insists that “there is very few reported cases of transmission to humans and almost all have been declared in Asia where the production systems in many cases allow for an intimate coexistence of animals and people. It is a virus specifically adapted to birds. It is also not contagious, under normal conditions, to other species, including humans.”
In any case, and asked if the flu vaccine in humans can immunize against avian influenza, he details that “the immunity that human vaccines develop against the common flu can be specific for a strain or multispecific for many strains ( depending on the type of virus spikes). The immune process has a generic part and a specific part. The generic part can help the immune process in various viruses.”