The Ministry of Health is striving to strengthen the early diagnosis of possible human cases.

During the 2021-2022 influenza surveillance seasons (October 21 – September 22) and 2022-2023 a large number of outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) A(H5N1) clade have been reported. Europe and America. The increase in the number of disease outbreaks in birds was accompanied by increase in outbreaks in non-human mammals.

The Ministry of Health reminds that since April 2023, 34 sick cats have been identified in Poland, 5 dogs and 1 asymptomatic cat in Italy. In addition, 26 outbreaks have been identified on fox, mink and raccoon dog farms in Finland. In sick mammals of different species, in addition to respiratory symptoms, neurological symptoms are observed. Transmission of the virus to humans from these animals has not been identified.

When using protocols supervision and control of persons associated with avian influenza with animal outbreaks in SpainAccording to the Ministry of Health, between March 2022 and September 2023 318 control over 447 employees without detecting any infection, although the virus was detected in samples from 2 asymptomatic workers reported as environmental contamination.

Avian influenza A(H5N1) is an infection with high mortality in birds and serious economic consequences. Human cases can be serious, but they are rare because bird-to-human transmission is rare and human-to-human transmission is extremely rare. To date, no cases have been reported transmission between non-human mammals and humans”, they emphasize. Despite the scale of the current epizootic, the largest recorded to date in the world, since the beginning of the 2021-2022 season. As of August 2023, “only 15 confirmed human infections have been reported (5 reported as infections in exposed workers) including two deaths worldwide,” they note.

In this way, they ensure that the low transmission bandwidth between people makes ” risk associated with avian influenza A(H5N1) considered too low for the general populationeven though cases may become serious. They also clarify that the risk is still considered low for workers who are occupationally exposed on affected farms with sick animals, and between low and very low for people living with cats, or specialists who take care of them.

The populations most at risk of contracting the avian influenza virus are farmers, veterinarians, and agricultural workers working on infected farms, as well as hunters, birdwatchers, and environmentalists who come into contact with infected wild birds.

However, they consider it necessary to “maintain the surveillance and public health measures implemented so far, as well as to strengthen the early detection of possible human cases in medical institutions.”

Finally, they emphasize that “this It is very important to maintain and strengthen supervision both in the livestock sector and in livestock production. farm workers and prevention and control measures, including measures for the collective and individual protection of people at risk of infection in the work environment.”

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