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FAQ About Avian Influenza (Bird Flu)

by: J. Zorro

Avian Flu Symptoms

In this article you can frequently asked questions about one type of bird flu, called avian influenza A (H5N1) that is infecting birds in Asia and has infected some humans.

Question: What is avian influenza (bird flu)?

Bird flu is an infection caused by avian (bird) influenza (flu) viruses. Bird flu is very contagious among birds and can make some domesticated birds, including chickens, ducks, and turkeys, very sick and kill them.

Question: Do bird flu viruses infect humans?

Bird flu viruses do not usually infect humans, but several cases of human infection with bird flu viruses have occurred since 1997.

Question: What are the symptoms of bird flu in humans?

Symptoms of bird flu in humans can be similar to those resulting from typical flu-like symptoms, like fever, cough, sore throat and muscle aches. Other severe symptoms are eye infections, pneumonia, severe respiratory diseases, and other severe and life-threatening complications.

Question: How does bird flu spread?

Infected birds shed flu virus in their saliva, nasal secretions, and feces. It is believed that most cases of bird flu infection in humans have resulted from contact with infected poultry or contaminated surfaces. The transmission of bird flu from one ill person to another has been reported very rarely.

Question: How is bird flu in humans treated?

Studies done in laboratories suggest that the prescription medicines approved for human flu viruses should work in preventing bird flu infection in humans.

Question: What is the risk to humans from bird flu?

The risk from bird flu is generally low to most people because the viruses occur mainly among birds and do not usually infect humans. However, during an outbreak of bird flu among poultry (domesticated chicken, ducks, turkeys), there is a possible risk to people who have contact with infected birds or surfaces that have been contaminated with excretions from infected birds. In such situations, people should avoid contact with infected birds or contaminated surfaces, and should be careful when handling and cooking poultry. In rare instances, limited human-to-human spread of H5N1 virus has occurred, and transmission has not been observed to continue beyond one person.

Question: Is there a vaccine to protect humans from H5N1 virus?

There currently is no commercially available vaccine to protect humans against the H5N1 virus that is being seen in Asia and Europe. However, vaccine development efforts are taking place.

About the author: J. Zorro owns ePharmacy Premium.

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