The World Health Organization (WHO) predicts that a new strain of flu may cause a major wave of disease and is warning countries to prepare.
The global organization sounded the alarm this week over the risk of a dangerous season of the flu. During the first year of the pandemic, many common diseases declined in prevalence.
The organization’s head, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, stated that H5N1 bird flu could soon become a major concern. This strain of the flu has not affected humans on a large scale as of yet, but there has been a sharp increase in avian flu cases among birds, helping to cause the recent spike in egg prices.
Furthermore, there have been recent cases where bird flu was found in mammals, which could indicate that a jump to humans is possible. One of the theories about the origins of COVID-19 is a jump from bats to humans, though this is actively disputed.
Tedros said in part, “For the moment, WHO assesses the risk to humans as low. Since H5N1 first emerged in 1996, we have only seen rare and unsustained transmission of H5N1 to and between humans. But we cannot assume that will remain the case, and we must prepare for any change in the status quo.”
There is considerable concern that a flu epidemic is near, according to the global health organization. Furthermore, the experiences of the coronavirus pandemic may result in a starkly different outcome for this new potential wave of disease.
WHO Director Tedros says we "must prepare" for possible H5N1 bird flu pandemic. pic.twitter.com/xn0XiQNtKW
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The flu vaccine has traditionally provided limited protection against different strains of the illness. The vaccine is a traditional type, usually created with either the dead virus (deactivated) or attenuated (weakened) form of the disease.
However, the vaccine is often adjusted each year for the strain of flu that medical professionals believe will be most prevalent in a given year. In years past, if another strain became dominant, the vaccine would be less effective among the general public.
There has been some action regarding the spread of the new strain of bird flu. The Biden Administration is considering widespread poultry vaccination as a means of containing the current wave of flu.
After the effects of the pandemic, global and national health organizations have taken considerable steps to predict the next wave of disease.