Does avian influenza in birds cause the disease to spread in human beings also? Luckily, not to a great extent so far. The deaths reported since 2003, with the arrival of the flagship bird flu virus, H5N1, are just 120 all over the world. Why then researchers and scientists are so much worried about the outbreak of the bird flu? Why the concerned authorities are culling birds in millions?
The root cause of the worry is on account of the mutating capacity of the bird flu virus. It is likely to take the deadly shape anytime, if the past behavior of this type of virus is any indication. Whether the migratory birds will do it in Australia? Or the international travelers should be blamed, when the expected pandemic occurs in Australia? Why such strong fears among the medical fraternity of Australia? What is the basis for this latent fear?
The Australian health authorities are vigilant and confident. They can prove to you that H5N1 virus is not present in Australia. The job of spreading the virus is carried out by water fowls in Europe, Asia and Africa, but they do not migrate to Australia. But the species of birds that do migrate luckily are not the carriers of the bird flu virus. Australia has strict quarantine laws and the measures are correctly followed. So the disease can not arrive in Australia through imported birds or poultry products.
The standards of personal hygiene are excellent in Australia. So, the normal contacts of the people with the birds will do no harm. The Australian authorities and the people also know how to take care of caged birds, aviary and yard birds. The measures adopted are simple, just don’t allow them to mix with the wild birds and give them good feed and clean water supply.
Australia knows it well- prevention is better than cure. A mock exercise conducted in November 2005, gave detailed instructions with practical demonstrations, how to meet the emergent situation, should there be an attack of bird flu.
The incidents of avian influenza reported in Australia so far are just five, but they are small incidents, very well controlled- and controlled in time. The last incident reported was in the year 1997.