New Facts About Bird Flu or Avian Influenza

Recently the spread of endemic diseases like bird flu, foot and mouth disease, swine flu and other have led nations all over the world to spend thousands of dollars into research to understand and combat such epidemics. Bird flu or avian influenza is also known as H5N1. In India the endemic effect of bird flu has been witnessed quite a few times.

Causes of Bird flu

Bird flu or avian influenza as the name suggests mainly affects birds particularly fowl. When humans come in direct contact with affected birds the disease can spread to them. Actually, the influenza virus can mutate itself so rapidly and so fast that it becomes extremely difficult to detect the origin of the influenza. Close proximity to chicken droppings or the surfaces infected with chicken droppings is the main source affecting human beings. By avoiding influenza-affected birds, human beings can protect themselves. Evidence of spread of this disease through human interaction has not been found by medical science yet.

Recognizing Symptoms of Bird Flu

  • Fever of any kind should be taken seriously and ignorance can lead to death even. Whenever any kind of fever affects anyone, take him or her to the doctor to be certain it is not bird flu influenza.
  • Coughing is another symptom of bird flu. Just examine your saliva to be certain that you are not the victim of bird influenza.
  • Sore throat and muscle aches
  • Other severe symptoms of bird flu include like pneumonia, acute respiratory disease, viral pneumonia, other life- threatening physical complications etc.
  • Who Might be Affected

  • It is widely believed that those who live in close proximity to duck or chickens or other fowl like pultry farm owners are at risk to contracting avian influenza. However, medical science has not been able to determine without any doubt thaty only poultry birds act as carriers of bird flu and not wild birds.
  • Avian influenza, being highly pathogenic to poultry, can infect birds in poultry immediately and kill them eventually. So people working in poultry are most susceptible to the disease.
  • Even handling a dead bird can transmit avian flu influenza from birds to human.
  • Eating birds infected with avian flu influenza can lead someone to contract the disease.
  • Visiting avian flu infected area and coming in contact with infected birds also may lead to transmition of the disease.
  • Treating Bird Flu

    Bird flu can be treated only with the help of vaccination. Many types of vaccines are being developed to combat this fatal disease. With the mutant nature of H5N1 to transform into any other influenza virus, the previous method of treating avian flu with amantadine and rimantadine is obsolete. The usage of oseltamivir and possibly zanamavir is now recommended and followed. The main problem with this disease is that this is endemic and ensuring access these two drugs within limited period to affected areas in time is next to impossible.

    Cleaning hands with warm water and soap frequently, wearing musk and avoiding affected areas are some preventive measures should be followed in the time of avian flu.

    During avian influenza epidemic it is advised that one should visit the doctor in case of severe fever. If one has been in affected areas recently, the information should be shared with the doctor and the person should definitely get tested to find out whether he/she is in fact infected by bird flu. X-rays might be useful to assess the condition of lungs and to detect avian flu in your body.

    Patients should narrate additional information other existent or chronic medical problems to the doctor as these when coupled with avian flu can complicate matters. Going to the doctor in time can save lives.