Why in news?
India has been declared free from Avian Influenza (H5N1).
What is this disease?
- Avian influenza is a highly infectious viral disease which affects a number of food producing bird species (chickens, turkeys, quails, guinea fowl, etc.), pet and wild birds.
- Mammals, including humans, may occasionally get infected.
- This is a poultry fatal virus and can lead to widespread deaths.
- There are four types of influenza viruses: A, B, C and D.
- Human influenza A and B viruses cause seasonal epidemics of disease (known as the flu season).
- Influenza A viruses are the only influenza viruses known to cause flu pandemics,e., global epidemics of flu disease.
- Influenza type C infections generally cause mild illness and are not thought to cause human flu epidemics.
- Influenza D viruses primarily affect cattle and are not known to infect or cause illness in people.
- Influenza A viruses are divided into subtypes based on two proteins on the surface of the virus: hemagglutinin (H) and neuraminidase (N).
- There are 18 different hemagglutinin subtypes and 11 different neuraminidase subtypes (H1 through H18 and N1 through N11, respectively).
- Current subtypes of influenza A viruses that routinely circulate in people include: A(H1N1) and A(H3N2).
- A(H5N1) is a virus that occurs primarily in birds.
Influenza is the only respiratory virus preventable by vaccination. The inactivated vaccine can prevent influenza illnesses and their complications when given before exposure to the virus. The protection against disease outbreaks requires strict biosecurity measures and good health.