Overview Bird Flu Virus
Human and animals can pass influenza virus from one to another. Humans can thus, become sick from avian or swine influenza when they pick up the virus from these animals.
In irregular intervals which can be as frequent as yearly, genetic particles of viruses from birds and pigs or humans are mixed (assortment) to produce novel subtypes with increasing virulence. The theory of the pandemic flu is derived from the expectation that such a mixture of viral materials will produce a novel influenza that will spread early in humans unhindered by a non-existent human immunity.
Influenza viruses type
Symptoms of bird flu virus
- diarrhea and vomiting
- respiratory difficulties
- fever (over 100.4°F or 38°C)
- Lack of appetite
- muscle aches
- runny nose
- sore throat
Causes bird flu virus
Although there are several types of bird flu, H5N1 was the first avian influenza virus to infect humans. The first infection occurred in Hong Kong in 1997. The outbreak was linked to handling infected poultry.
H5N1 occurs naturally in wild waterfowl, but it can spread easily to domestic poultry. The disease is transmitted to humans through contact with infected bird feces, nasal secretions, or secretions from the mouth or eyes.
Consuming properly cooked poultry or eggs from infected birds doesn’t transmit the bird flu, but eggs should never be served runny. Meat is considered safe if it has been cooked to an internal temperature of 165ºF (73.9ºC).
What are bird flu virus risk factors
- a poultry farmer
- a traveler visiting affected areas
- exposed to infected birds
- someone who eats under-cooked poultry or eggs
- a healthcare worker caring for infected patients
- a household member of an infected person
How is bird flu virus diagnosed?
- auscultation (a test that detects abnormal breath sounds)
- white blood cell differential
- naso-pharyngeal culture
- chest X-ray
Treatment for bird flu virus
Different types of bird flu can cause different symptoms. As a result, treatments may vary.
In most cases, treatment with antiviral medication such as oseltamivir (Tamiflu) or zanamivir (Relenza) can help reduce the severity of the disease. However, the medication must be taken within 48 hours after symptoms first appear.
The virus that causes the human form of the flu can develop resistance to the two most common forms of antiviral medications, amantadine and rimantadine (Flumadine). These medications shouldn’t be used to treat the disease.
Your family or others in close contact with you might also be prescribed antivirals as a preventive measure, even if they aren’t sick. You’ll be placed in isolation to avoid spreading the virus to others.
Bird Flu Virus Prevention and Control:
Prevention and control strategies for Avian Influenza include the following:
Infection prevention practices
- Those responding to or working with poultry should wearing personal protective equipment while working in communities with existing outbreak.
- Eat well cooked poultry and poultry products.
- Practice good hand hygiene
- Include self-monitoring for illness during and after responding to HPAI outbreaks among poultry.
- Increase surveillance
- Engender societal behavioral changes
In Poultry farms
- Vaccination of birds
Infection prevention practices
- Culling infected poultry farm birds
- Proper disposal of death birds.