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Bird-flu-is-always-roaming-around

January 14, 2022

Infectious Disease - There are outbreaks of bird flu all over the world. What is the risk?

"The risk of a pandemic virus emerging is always there. It is no greater now than it was ten or twenty years ago, but since corona, we are much more aware of the dangers of viral diseases that we share with animals. And rightly so."
-Ron Fouchier-

Interview with Ron Fouchier
14 January 2022

[...]
"So far, no variants have emerged that are easily transmissible from human to human," says Ron Fouchier, professor of molecular virology at Erasmus MC and global authority on bird flu. "But we know that only five mutations are needed for that. Some of these we are already seeing in mammals that have been infected."
The risk of a pandemic virus emerging is always there. It is no greater now than it was ten or twenty years ago, Fouchier argues. "But since corona, we are much more aware of the dangers of viral diseases that we share with animals. And rightly so."
[...]
And a new variant could just arise in our country too. That happened in 2003, during the outbreak in which a Dutch veterinarian died. The chance of that happening is relatively high, because we have the largest poultry densities in the world. "So that's something we have to look at very critically," says Fouchier. "And at vaccinating that poultry. We don't do that in Europe now, because of export agreements. But virologists are concerned. If the virus ends up in poultry in Gelderse Vallei, or around Venlo, it will be difficult to stop it."

Read the complete interview with Ron Fouchier on the website of the NRC