Bird Flu Virus on the Rise After Undergoing Rapid Mutations


by Hamna Bano

10 Best Activities



Experts all around the world have warned of a new Bird Flu outbreak keeping in view the virus causing record cases of avian influenza in birds. 

Officials, while reassuring low risk of transmission to humans expressed their concern over soaring mammalian bird flu cases, AFP reported. They said “the surging number of bird flu cases in mammals was a cause for concern. Since first emerging in 1996, the H5N1 avian influenza virus had previously been confined to mostly seasonal outbreaks.”

But according to, the head of the World Health Organization Richard Webby, ““something happened” in mid-2021 that made the group of viruses much more infectious.”

These year-round outbreaks result in widespread transmission to new areas, causing mass wild bird fatalities and necessitating the culling of millions of poultry. 


A researcher at ST. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in the US told AFP that “it was “absolutely” the largest outbreak of avian influenza the world had seen.” He added that “while researching on a bird, they found an unexpectedly “huge” amount of the virus in its brain, indicating it had caused more serious disease than previous strains". Emphasizing that the risk in humans was still low, he said that “this virus is not being static, it’s changing.”

Based on these studies, the continuous outbreaks raise the possibility that the bird flu virus may acquire genetic characteristics by chance, enabling it to become more transmissible among humans. While rare, there have been instances where individuals have contracted the potentially fatal virus, typically through close contact with infected birds.  

The concerning situation continues as the bird flu virus has been increasingly detected in a growing population of mammals—a development described by Webby as deeply troubling. 

Just last week, Chile reported a staggering toll of nearly 9,000 sea lions, penguins, otters, porpoises, and dolphins succumbing to bird flu along its northern coast since the beginning of the year.

The primary mode of transmission for most mammals is believed to be through the consumption of infected birds, further highlighting the gravity of the situation.