Questions And Answers About Bird Flu (Avian Influenza)
Bird Flu is an infectious disease of birds that can also affect people. It can present mild or severe forms of illness. The only subtype that can cause severe illness to people is Influenza A / H5N1 virus, initially it affects chickens, ducks and other birds by the process of mutation they can become highly pathogenic. Because highly pathogenic viruses can survive for long periods in tissue, water and in the environment, especially when temperatures are low easily transmitted very easily in chickens and other birds through direct contact with feces and secretions from infected birds, eggs, feed, water, cages equipment, vehicles and clothing. The virus is excreted orally and in feces 10 days if the bird survives. Domestic birds can get infected when they roam freely or share water supply with other birds. The virus may be transported from farm to farm with contaminated equipment, vehicles, feeds, cages, or clothing, especially shoes. Luckily, there is no evidence of human-to-human transmission and through cooked chicken meat. But particles of discharges with the bird avian flu inhaled in market, poultry, surfaces and aerosols are very dangerous.Avian influenza affects chickens and the poultry industry, recombined with the human influenza viruses form a totally new influenza virus to which people do not have protection that spreads in the population and that causes serious illness and death in humans.
Signs and symptoms of bird flu in chickens:
Infection determines many symptoms from mild illnesses to highly contagious and severe epidemics. Among them a decline in activity and in egg production, facial swelling and bluish-violet colored combs and wattles, diarrhea, hemorrhages, paralysis, sudden deaths.
Signs and symptoms of bird flu in humans are similar to other influenza viruses: sore throat and cough, fever, muscle weakness and / or pain with complications such as: severe viral pneumonia, respiratory distress syndrome, multi- organ failure.
How to make a differential diagnostic between avian influenza, pneumonia or any other respiratory illness?
A laboratory and epidemiologic confirmation of the bird flu infection is needed and details required such as patient had direct or indirect contact with sick chickens or other birds.Treatments of bird flu are antiviral drugs, but some of these drugs are expensive and supplies are limited.
To prevent recombination of avian with the human influenza virus: is recommended a vaccine used against circulating strains in humans to those exposed to bird flu. Even better is recommended the prevention: to cease importating of live chickens and other poultry products from countries affected with bird flu, avoid contact of poultry with wild birds, proper hand washing and cleaning and disinfection procedures in poultries. Report to authorities any unusual death or illness of chickens other birds or humans. The rest of us should: wash hands with soap and water before and after handling chicken meat. Cook chicken well, not to let chickens roam freely, do not place chickens, ducks and pigs together in one area. Local Government Officials should: apprehend illegal trading of poultry, not allowing chickens to roam freely, correctly informate the community, advise public not to catch, get near or keep in captivity wild birds.