AVIAN INFLUENZA: What really is bird flu? Who should we believe?

Will the next pandemic be caused by the bird flu virus? Will intensive poultry farming be the main cause of human infection? Who are we to believe?

Just like humans, birds (and chickens are birds) can contract influenza. Bird flu is so called because it is a disease that affects both wild and domestic birds. The most important thing to point out is that (contrary to what some people think) bird flu is not a food-borne disease, and is not contracted by eating poultry. Furthermore, should an infection occur on a farm, that flock of chickens will never enter the food chain. We would like to take this opportunity to remind you that chicken (like all meat) must be cooked well beforehand and cooking can inactivate viruses.


Avian influenza is caused by a virus that is transmitted by migratory or resident wild birds. Domestic birds become infected through saliva, nasal secretions and/or faeces. It happens that other birds pick up the virus by directly touching the fluids of the infected bird or by touching a surface that has been contaminated by the fluids of an infected bird. This is the main reason why poultry farms are designed to isolate farmed animals from the outside.

There are two classifications of avian influenza: low pathogenicity (LPAI) and high pathogenicity (HPAI).

  • Birds that contract LPAI sometimes have no symptoms or show mild symptoms, such as ruffled feathers or a decrease in egg production.
  • Birds with HPAI usually present more severe symptoms such as depression and anorexia, lack of coordination, coughing, sneezing or nasal discharge. HPAI can also cause high mortality.


Animal welfare associations are spreading alarmist news about the role intensive poultry farms would play in the spread of bird flu. According to their view, intensive poultry farms could both give rise to a hypothetical future human influenza pandemic and contribute to the spread of highly pathogenic influenza viruses among wild birds, leading to the disappearance of several protected species and a reduction in biodiversity. Their vision is clearly limited and distorted by extreme animalist ideologies.

To understand where the truth lies in these matters, it is necessary to rely above all on scientific data and historical facts.


AVIAN INFLUENZA: what the World Health Organisation says


Regarding the likelihood of a future influenza virus pandemic, we report the opinion of the World Health Organisation:

“Based on available information, WHO has evaluated sporadic detections of avian influenza viruses among humans and found that there is no evidence of person-to-person transmission to date. Therefore, the likelihood of spread to humans of international outbreaks of avian origin is considered low’.

It is important to clarify that direct human contagion with influenza viruses of avian origin is very difficult, because the receptors to which the virus adheres on the cells of the respiratory system are substantially different between birds and mammals. In order for an influenza virus to become highly diffusive in the human species, it usually needs reassortment with other influenza viruses circulating in mammals, especially in pigs. If we then assess the occurrence of influenza epidemics or pandemics in the world population throughout history, we find that mankind has been cyclically affected by these events, at times when intensive farming certainly did not exist. In contrast, since the practice of keeping birds indoors, with modern husbandry techniques and high levels of biosecurity, pandemics from avian influenza viruses have not occurred.

We will describe this historical evidence in detail at the following link:  LINK1


The editorial staff of M.A.C.