The bird flu, also known as the avian flu is an illness that mostly affects birds. The majority of bird flu viruses do not affect humans, however, some strains — specifically H5N1 as well as H7N9 could, in rare instances transmit to humans, causing severe illnesses, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The bird flu virus is passed on to humans by the way that these viruses, which make up of a group known as the avian influenza A viruses, spread through the saliva, mucus, or the droppings of an affected bird to a person’s eye or nose. Humans are susceptible to contracting the disease by inhaling the virus, which could be able to survive in air droplets and dust, or by touching an area that’s harboring the virus, and then transmitting the virus to the eyes and noses, as well as mouth.
You could be suffering from an infection with H5N1 If you have typical flu-like symptoms, such as:
- respiratory issues
- “Fever” (over 100.4degF (or 38degC)
- Muscle aches
- a nose that is runny
- sore throat
If you’ve been exposed to bird flu, inform the staff prior to arriving at the hospital or doctor’s offices. Informing them prior to your arrival will enable staff to take measures to protect staff members and patients prior to taking care of you.
Causes and Risk Factors of Bird Flu
Bird flu can be spread by direct contact with wild birds as well as domestic poultry, like turkeys, chickens, and ducks, as per the Mayo Clinic.
Although bird flu-related infections are extremely rare, the majority of cases occur in those who have had contact without protection with an infected bird, or any surface that was contaminated. However, there have been instances where an individual has contracted the virus even without direct contact with birds.
Infrequently, the virus can be transmitted from person to person but the transmission is not widespread, and doesn’t appear to be a common occurrence, says the CDC.
Markets in the open air can be a breeding ground for bird flu, as birds and eggs can be sold in unhealthy conditions.
There have been some cases of H5N1 among people who ate food prepared from raw, contaminated poultry blood, however, there’s no evidence that suggests that people were affected by bird flu after eating properly cooked chicken. Consuming uncooked poultry has been linked to diseases other than influenza which includes Salmonella.
Certain people are at greater risk than others to be extremely sickened by the bird flu especially pregnant women, people who are over 65, and those who are immune-deficient.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)Trusted Source has approved a test to determine if there is avian flu. The test is called the influenza A/H5 (Asian lineage) virus real-time RT-PCR primer and probe set. It is able to provide preliminary results within four hours. But, the test isn’t widely accessible.
Your physician may also conduct the following tests in order to look for signs of the virus responsible for the bird flu:
- Auscultation (a test to detect unusual breath sounds)
- white blood cell differential
- nasopharyngeal culture
- chest Xray
Further tests are available to evaluate the function of your kidneys, your heart, and your liver.
Different varieties of bird flu may cause various symptoms. Therefore, treatment could differ.
In most instances, the treatment of antiviral medications like the oseltamivir (Tamiflu) or Zanamivir (Relenza) can lessen the severity of the disease. However, the medication should be taken within the first 48 hours of the time that symptoms first begin to manifest.
The virus which causes the human variant of influenza can develop resistance to two of the most popular antiviral drugs, amantadine, and rimantadine (Flumadine). These medicines shouldn’t be used for the treatment of the illness.
Your family members or those who are close to you may also receive antivirals for prevention even if they’re not infected. You’ll be isolated in order to stop transmitting the virus to others.
The doctor could put you on a breathing machine in the event of serious infections.
Prevention of Bird Flu
There isn’t a widely available vaccine that can prevent the spread of bird influenza within the United States. The best method to avoid the spread of bird flu is to be aware of the source of exposure.
Anyone who works with poultry should adhere to the proper guidelines for controlling infections including having personal safety equipment and maintaining the proper Hand hygiene guidelines.
Wild birds could also cause the disease, therefore it’s recommended that authorities from the state or local level take care of dead birds. If a lot of birds have died in the same location the wildlife group will likely look into the cause. One should not be too close to birds and avoid touching surfaces infected with bird droppings.