Everything about Birds Flu- Causes, Symptoms, treatment, and prevention!

Monday January 25, 2021 at 10:11 pm

Avian Influenza is commonly known as birds flu that can spread a potential infection to birds and humans. It can transmit from humans to other animals as well. However, as the name suggests, this H5N1 virus mainly attacks the birds and has a harmful effect on them. It is vital to know why and how this virus infects you and the probable prevention measures and treatment options.

What does birds flu mean?

The H5N1 virus is the main virus that can have fatal effects on animals’ well-being and humans. After infecting the birds, they can act as carriers to spread the contamination in humans and other animals. World Health Organization reported that the first case of the H5N1 virus came out in 1997, and the mortality rate was 60%. This is quite an alarming rate for the spread of this contagious disease.

In the present scenario, the birds flu virus does not have any traces of human-to-human contact. However, many experts still can see a potential threat that this virus might strike humans leading to another massive pandemic.

What are the common symptoms of bird flu?

How to determine if you are suffering from the havoc of bird flu? After having a look at the common symptoms of this infection, people can decide if they have any peculiar flu symptoms or not.

Here are the symptoms of bird flu?

If you are experiencing the symptoms such as:

  • diarrhea
  • cough
  • headache
  • fever
  • respiratory difficulties
  • runny nose
  • headache

If you notice any symptoms, then there is a high probability of this virus infection.

Other symptoms of this infection striking you are:

  • sore throat
  • muscle aches and
  • malaise.

If you find out that there is even minimal exposure to the bird flu, you must bring it to a family physician or doctor’s attention. It is better to understand the early alarms before it gets too late.

Any type of exposure to the birds flu can also be contagious to the people in contact with you. to avoid any further transmission, you must follow necessary precautionary measures to prevent the problem. It is also essential to consume poultry products that are hygienic and ensure you only buy them from trusted sources.

What are the causes of bird flu?

Do you know that there are multiple types of birds flu? Amongst the several viruses, H5N1 is the first avian influenza virus that infects the human body. And the early infection ever recorded was in the year 1997. This outbreak has a significant link to the infected poultry industry.

The first-ever transmission of this infection was in the wild waterfowl of birds. But after the contamination transmits through direct or indirect contact, it spreads even to the domestic poultry. How are humans prone to birds flu? Transmission of this flu to humans reaches through the nasal secretions, bird feces, or the secretion coming out of the eyes or mouth.

It is a misconception that everyone consuming poultry food can get infected with this virus!

If you consume rightly cooked eggs or other poultry products, then the transmission chances are relatively low. But avoid consuming the raw eggs when the birds flu epidemic is already out. Intake of meat can be a safe choice but only after cooking it at an appropriate temperature. Well-cooked poultry products like meats and chicken are safe for human intake.

What are the Risk factors related to Birds flu?

Avian Influenza can stay long a longer period and can spread as a contagious disease. If the birds get exposed to H5N1 infection, then the viruses can quickly release through saliva or feces for almost 10 days or even more. Any contact with the contaminated surface can further lead to the spread of infection.

How to determine if you are at high risk of getting infected with the H5N1 viruses? You can be at increased risk in the following conditions:

  • Poultry farmer or transporter
  • Travelers visiting affected areas
  • Exposure to the birds prone to infection
  • Anyone consuming eggs or any other undercooked poultry product
  • Healthcare staff taking care of infected patients
  • A family member or housemate of the infected person

What are the ways to diagnose the birds flu virus?

As per the CDC or Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there is a dedicated test designed to test and identify the bird flu virus. After undergoing this test, you can detect whether you have met with the infection or not. The name of the test is influenza A/H5 (Asian lineage) virus real-time RT-PCR probe set. And it can deliver accurate results after a few hours of testing. Although this testing is not available everywhere, you can search for dedicated labs or centers offering such facilities.

To detect the presence of the birds flu virus, doctors might also perform the other tests that medically prove the presence of this infection:

  • White blood cell differentiation
  • Auscultation (A test to find out abnormal breath rates)
  • Chest X-Ray
  • Nasopharyngeal culture report

As per your medical condition, the doctors might suggest a couple of other tests determine and assess the proper functioning of kidneys, liver, and heart.

What is the right treatment for bird flu?

There are various types of symptoms related to bird flu, but the treatments vary as per the results and the effects. In most cases, the standard treatment for this flu is through antiviral medication (Tamiflu) or Zanamivir (Relenza). These drugs might prove useful in managing the severity of this disease considerably. It is ideal for taking medication within 48 hours of symptom detection but only with your doctor or medical consultant’s consent and approval.

How to prevent birds flu?

Doctors might suggest a flu shot or other preventive measures to prevent contamination with H5N1 viruses. Common steps for prevention include:

  • Open markets
  • Contact with the infected birds
  • Raw poultry products
  • Basic hygiene such as hand wash and cleansing
  • Use sanitizers

Wrap up

Now you know the causes, symptoms, treatment, and preventive measures to know every bit about the spread of Avian Influenza or H5N1 virus. Although birds’ rate of human transmission is very low, the birds flu infection might occur if you do not follow the right precautions. You need to consume only adequately cooked poultry products and clean them thoroughly before the preparation of meals. After keeping an account of all these aspects, this dreadful disease’s contagious spread might get easily manageable!

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