The global spread of bird flu is increasing concerns the viruses will be transferred to humans. Global infections of highly pathogenic avian influenza have reached unprecedented levels, according to Reuters. The presence in so many parts of the world at the same time increases the risk of viruses mixing and mutating, and possibly jumping to people. While the U.S. has escaped much of the recent outbreaks, widespread avian influenza has been confirmed across Europe, Africa and Asia in the last three months. Global health officials are worried another strain could make a jump into humans like H5N1 did in the late 1990s. Disease experts fear a deadly strain of avian flu could then mutate into a pandemic form that can be passed easily among people – something that has not yet been seen. But, while there would normally be around two or three bird flu strains recorded in birds at any one time, now there is at least half a dozen, which is prompting the fears.
From the National Association of Farm Broadcasting news service.