Bird flu is not just for the birds

After engulfing Europe in the past few years bird flu has rapidly struck across North America this year, from Canada down to Texas and Louisiana. 

In the nature of viruses, it is changing as it goes. It has mutated to become more easily transmissible, and it has become a year-round threat instead of mainly a winter phenomenon.

It is also, unfortunately, spreading to other animals including, in the United States at least one human being.

The latest monthly imports report of the SA Poultry Association (SAPA) notes that since April this year the United States has reported 91 cases of bird flu in unusual host species. These include red fox, coyote, possum, grey and harbour seals, Amur leopard, bottle-nosed dolphin, racoon, bobcat and striped skunk.

If bird flu has spread to foxes, seals and dolphins, there will be concerns that humans will be next, but in larger numbers.