The bird flu case in the Berlin Zoo has once again brought bird flu to people’s minds. But what is actually behind the disease? And how dangerous is it for humans? The four most important questions and their answers.
The visit to the Berlin Zoo ended abruptly for many people on Friday. Because of a bird flu case, the zoo was cleared on Friday and is now closed – for how long is still unclear. Do zoo visitors have to worry now? We clarify the most important questions:
The so-called avian influenza is known as bird flu or avian influenza. The virus behind it is called H5N1. Theoretically, the viruses can be transmitted to humans, but the transmission is “not very effective,” writes the Robert Koch Institute on its website. “That means they are not very infectious for humans.” According to the RKI, not a single case of bird flu has occurred in a human in Germany.
Potential infection occurs through intensive contact with infected or dead poultry. “People probably have to ingest very large amounts of virus in order to become infected,” says the RKI. Accordingly, employees in the poultry industry and veterinarians in the companies are particularly at risk. No risk is seen for the general public.
In the extremely rare case of infection, a mild to severe illness can occur. According to the RKI, symptoms usually appear two to five, possibly up to 14 days after infection, including severe flu-like symptoms such as high fever, coughing, shortness of breath and sore throat. In more than half of the cases, there is also diarrhea, and more rarely abdominal pain and vomiting. As the disease progresses, pneumonia usually develops, which in the worst case can lead to lung failure and death.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), since 2003, 865 cases and 456 deaths from bird flu have been detected worldwide. By far the most cases are registered in the Asia-Pacific region.
For classification: The health authorities recently reported 27,587 new corona infections and 218 deaths in connection with corona to the RKI – in Germany alone and in just one day.
Nevertheless, the EU health authority ECDC recently spoke of the worst bird flu epidemic in Europe. A bird epidemic of unprecedented proportions is raging in Europe.