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Bird Flu: All you need to know

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praveen

Life is a dream
Staff member
1. What is Bird Flu?

Bird flu or avian influenza is an infectious disease of birds ranging from
mild to severe form of illness. All birds are thought to be susceptible to
bird flu, though some species are more resistant to infection than others.
Some forms of bird flu can cause illness to humans.

2. What causes bird flu?

Bird flu is caused by different sub types of influenza A virus affecting
chickens, ducks and other birds. Viruses which cause mild disease can
mutate into viruses that can cause serious disease (highly pathogenic).
To date, all outbreaks of the highly pathogenic form have been caused by
Influenza A /H5N1 virus, the only sub type that cause severe disease in
humans.

3. How is bird flu transmitted in chickens and other birds?

Direct contact with discharges from infected birds, especially feces and
respiratory secretions.
Contaminated feed, water, cages equipment, vehicles and clothing
Clinically normal waterfowl and sea birds my introduce the virus into flocks Eggs from infected hens can break and contaminate incubators Birds that survive infection excrete virus for at least 10 days, orally
and in feces. Highly pathogenic viruses can survive for long periods in
tissue, water and the environment, especially when temperatures are low.

4. How do outbreaks of bird flu spread within the country?

1. Domestic birds can get the infection when they:roam freelyshare water supply with wild birdsuse a water supply that might be ontaminated by infected droppings
2. Contaminated equipment, vehicles, feeds, cages, or clothing, especially
shoes can carry the virus from farm to farm

3. Wet markets where live chickens and other birds are sold under crowded
and sometimes unsanitary conditions

5. How is bird flu transmitted to humans?
Bird flu is transmitted to humans from direct or indirect contact with infected wild ducks and chickens through infected aerosols, discharges and surfaces.

A person handling or taking care infected chickens or came near or inside a poultry or market where there are sick chickens can inhale the particles from dried discharges or feces with the bird flu virus.
Discharges can get in contact with the nose or eyes of a person handling
infected chickens.

There is no reported case of bird flu in humans after handling dressed
chicken. Since the virus is easily inactivated by heat, one does not get
bird flu from thoroughly cooked chicken meat.
There is no evidence of human-to- human transmission.

6. Why are we concerned with bird flu?

There are a number of reasons why we are concerned with bird flu:
Bird flu or Avian influenza (AI) causes serious illness and death in humans
Avian and human influenza viruses can recombine to form a totally new influenza A virus which is capable of spreading from person to person and from which the human population do not have protection
AI causes severe epidemics and mass death of chickens affecting the poultry industry.

7. What are the signs and symptoms of bird fl u in chickens?

Infection causes a wide spectrum of symptoms in birds, ranging from mild illness to a highly contagious and rapidly fatal disease resulting in severe epidemics.
Decrease in activity
Drastic decline in egg production
Facial swelling with swollen and bluish-violet colored combs and wattles
Hemorrhages on internal membrane surfaces
Virus isolation needed for definitive diagnosis
Gasping for breath
Muscle
Weakness/paralysis
Diarrhoea
Sudden deaths (mortality that can reach 100 per cent)

8. What are the signs and symptoms of bird flu in humans?

Bird flu is very similar to other influenza viruses. Initial symptoms are:
Fever
Muscle weakness and/or pain
Sore throat and cough
Sore eyes (conjunctivitis) is seen in some patients
Causes of death and complications are:
Severe viral pneumonia
Respiratory distress syndrome
Multi- organ failure

9. Since there are so many cases of influenza, pneumonia or any other respiratory illness, when does one suspect that the patient is a case of bird flu?

One suspects that a patient with influenza or pneumonia or any other
respiratory illness is a case of bird flu avian influenza if the patient
has had direct or indirect contact through handling or having taken care
or getting near sick chickens or other birds.
A laboratory confirmation of the bird flu infection and epidemiologic link
with unusual death or epidemics of chickens will support the diagnosis of
bird flu.

10. What is the treatment of bird flu?

Treatment for H5N1 infection is essentially the same as for other
influenza a viruses. Antiviral drugs, some of which can be used for both
treatment and prevention, are clinically effective against influenza A
virus strains in otherwise healthy adults and children, but have some
limitations. Some of these drugs are also expensive and supplies are
limited.

11. Is there a vaccine against bird flu?

No. The vaccine currently available against the circulating strains in
humans will not protect from the disease caused by H5N1. However, it is
recommended for individuals who are potentially exposed to bird flu like
poultry handlers, workers and breeders to prevent recombination of avian
with the human influenza virus.

12. How do we prevent bird flu?

The ban on importation of live chickens and other poultry products from countries affected with bird flu is a critical step to prevent the entry of bird flu into the country.
For poultry caretakers and handlers of chickens and other birds:
Avoid contact of poultry with wild birds, in particular waterfowl
Control human traffic into poultries
Practice proper hand washing and cleaning and disinfection procedures in poultries
Report to authorities any unusual death or illness of chickens and other birds
Report to authorities any illness among the workers in poultry farms
For the general public:
Thoroughly wash hands with soap and water before and after handling chicken meat
Clean kitchen surfaces and utensils before and after use
Cook chicken well by seeing to it that the boiling temperature is reached
Do not sell live chickens in the market while there is a threat of bird flu.
Do not let chickens roam freely. Keep them in cages or pens.
Do not place chickens, ducks and pigs together in one area, cage or pen.
Do not catch, get near or keep in captivity wild birds.
Report to authorities any unusual death or illness of chickens and other birds. Report to authorities any case of respiratory illness with history of exposure to sick or dead chickens and other birds
13. Is it safe to travel to countries affected with bird flu?

Bird flu is not transmitted from one person to another. Individuals at
risk are those are directly or indirectly exposed to sick chickens and
other fowl.
The government thereby advises travelers to countries affected with bird
flu not to go to bird parks (aviaries), poultry farms or market where live
poultry is sold.
(Source: www.doh.gov.ph)

Bird flu: Do's and don'ts
=Experts say there is no need to be apprehensive about consuming meat or egg provided they are well cooked, as bird flu was reported for the first time in India on Saturday.

=There was "minimal risk from consuming the infected eggs or infected meat provided it is well cooked" as there was no evidence that flu was a food-borne disease, according to World Health Organisation.

=The danger is greater if human beings inhale the infected material or
come into contact with bird droppings.

=The WHO warns that the consumption of raw poultry, eggs, pork may spark an "additional" risk of other dangerous infections.

=Practice of thorough hand washing after handling birds or their
droppings, suspect the occurrence of bird flu if the birds have ruffled
feather or there is slowing down in laying of the eggs, according to the
literature on bird flu available on WHO website.

=The UN health agency also advices people not to go to poultry farms and
markets where birds are sold when there is an outbreak of the epidemic. As
the bird flu virus can survive for long periods at freezing temperatures,
it is advisable to avoid frozen food, the WHO said.
 
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