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Why does the globe put so much emphasis on avian influenza?

Modern global transportation and communication systems have enabled viruses to spread rapidly through poultry, poultry products, trading approaches, migratory birds, illegal import and sales of affected birds, and travelers around the world. Once a country is attacked by avian influenza, there will be a serious impact on health and livelihood of the citizens, social stability, agriculture and economics. If avian influenza unfortunately turns into a human-to-human epidemic, a catastrophe may fall to the mankind all over the world.
1. Threats on Lives
In 1918, the avian influenza outbreak in Spain caused more than twenty million casualties. In 1957, the outbreak in Asia murdered 4.5 million people. In 1968, the third pandemic outbreak in Hong Kong also destroyed millions of lives. The World Health Organization (WHO) has estimated that about two to seven million people may lose their lives if a global outbreak of avian influenza should occur recently.
2. The Impact on Economics
Once the highly pathogenic avian influenza occurs, all the poultry in the affected area will be killed. This may lead to consumer panic and a dramatic drop in poultry consumption, making a great influence on food service industry, channels, processing factories, poultry industry, veterinarians, feedstuff industry, consignees, and slaughterhouses. Poultry products are not allowed to be exported. Compensation for the killed poultry, emergency disease control, stabilizing prices of poultry, disinfection of poultry farms, disposal of dead poultry, and victims’ loans will result in economic loss and depression in tourism industry. Given that the virus becomes transmissible from human to human, all the social or economic activities will be forced to pause, and the loss will be beyond measure.
3. Unprecedented Impact on the Medical System
The drastic growth of patients may cause a shortage of medical staffs if the medical staffs are not well-shielded and infected by the patients. Great demands for antibiotics will be overwhelming pressures on medical professionals, and medical facilities will be overloaded.
4. Emergence of Panic
Viewing from the human history, an unknown disease can always bring fear to people. With the rapid transmission and high mortality rates of the diseases, the long time needed for recovery will make the unknown diseases even more mysterious. The physical and mental pressures on people will eventually accelerate the society to fall apart.
  • Data update: 2019-11-19
  • Publish Date : 2012-10-23
  • Source: Taichung City Animal Protection and Health Inspection Office
  • Hit Count: 705