STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — With recent news that the bird flu could be the next pandemic, it’s important for people to know the facts about the disease and its potential to spread to humans.

Former Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Dr. Robert Redfield recently said it’s not a question of “if,’’ but “when” the bird flu will become a pandemic.

In the last two years, millions of wild and domestic birds worldwide have lost their lives to bird flu. But it has hardly affected people. The virus has been detected in dozens of cattle across the country, and the World Health Organization last month identified the first human death in Mexico City.

Yet, Redfield recently told NewsNation’s Brian Entin he believes “bird flu will enter humans” and that it could have “significant mortality.”

The mortality for bird flu is somewhere between 25% and 50%, he told NewsNation. The death rate for COVID was 1.1% during the height of the pandemic, according to Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

Top 6 things to know

Here’s what you need to know about the bird flu and its potential spread:

  • The CDC has said it is “extremely rare” for the virus to spread among humans.
  • Avian influenza, or bird flu, is an infection from a type of influenza virus that usually spreads in birds and other animals, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
  • The virus usually spreads in birds, but can also infect humans if they come in contact with an infected animal’s body fluid, according to Johns Hopkins.
  • People who work with poultry, waterfowl and livestock are most vulnerable to catching the virus.
  • It’s “extremely rare” for the virus to spread from one human to another, according to the Cleveland Clinic, as it can also be spread by inhaling small dust particles in animal habitats.
  • Scientists have found that five amino acids must change in the key receptor for bird flu to gain a propensity to bind to a human receptor “and then be able to go human-to-human” as COVID-19 did, Redfield told NewsNation.


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