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BirdFluFacts.com is brought to you by AllNetHealth.com and is intended to provide basic information that you can use to make informed decisions about important health issues affecting you or your loved ones. We hope that you’ll find this information about the Bird Flu Facts  helpful and that you’ll seek professional medical advice to address any specific symptoms you might have related to this matter.

In addition to this site, we have created the "Healthpedia Network" of sites to provide specific information on a wide variety of health topics.

 

 

What is avian influenza (bird flu)?

What is the bird flu virus that has been reported in Asia and Europe?

How does bird flu spread among birds?

Where have human cases of bird flu been detected?

Does the bird flu virus infect humans?

Does the bird flu virus spread easily from birds to humans?

How do people become infected with bird flu viruses?

What are the symptoms of bird flu in humans?

How is bird flu detected in humans?

How is bird flu treated in humans?

What drugs are available for treatment?

Does the current seasonal influenza vaccine protect me from avian influenza?

What is the status of vaccine development and production?

What are the implications of bird flu to human health?

Should I wear a surgical mask to prevent exposure to avian influenza?

Is it safe to eat poultry and poultry products?

We have a small flock of chickens. Is it safe to keep them?

Where can I buy a home test kit for contributing factors of this condition?

 

 

What is avian influenza (bird flu)? (top)

Avian influenza, or “bird flu”, is a contagious disease of animals caused by viruses that normally infect only birds and, less commonly, pigs. Avian influenza viruses are highly species-specific, but have, on rare occasions, crossed the species barrier to infect humans.

 

What is the bird flu virus that has been reported in Asia and Europe? (top)

Bird flu is an influenza A virus. Also called the "H5N1 virus" that occurs mainly in birds, is highly contagious among birds, and can be deadly to them.

Influenza viruses are typed into 3 groups: A, B and C. Influenza A and B viruses are a concern to humans. Only influenza A viruses can cause pandemics. H5N1 is a subtype of influenza virus A.

 

Where have human cases of bird flu been detected? (top)

Human cases of influenza A (H5N1) infection have been reported in Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam.

 

Does the bird flu virus infect humans? (top)

Bird flu viruses do not usually infect humans, but more than 100 confirmed cases of human infection with bird flu viruses have occurred since 1997. The World Health Organization (WHO) maintains situation updates and cumulative reports of human cases of avian influenza A (H5N1). Click here.

 

Does the bird flu virus spread easily from birds to humans? (top)

No. Though more than 100 human cases have occurred in the current outbreak, this is a small number compared with the huge number of birds affected and the numerous associated opportunities for human exposure, especially in areas where backyard flocks are common. It is not presently understood why some people, and not others, become infected following similar exposures.

 

How do people become infected with the bird flu virus? (top)

Most cases of avian influenza infection in humans have resulted from direct or close contact with infected poultry (e.g., domesticated chicken, ducks, and turkeys) or surfaces contaminated with secretions and excretions from infected birds. The spread of avian influenza viruses from an ill person to another person has been reported very rarely, and transmission has not been observed to continue beyond one person. During an outbreak of avian influenza among poultry, there is a possible risk to people who have direct or close contact with infected birds or with surfaces that have been contaminated with secretions and excretions from infected birds.

 

What are the symptoms of bird flu in humans? (top)

Symptoms of avian influenza in humans have ranged from typical human influenza-like symptoms (fever, cough, sore throat, and muscle aches) to eye infections, pneumonia, severe respiratory diseases (such as acute respiratory distress syndrome), and other severe and life-threatening complications. The symptoms of avian influenza may depend on which specific virus subtype and strain caused the infection.

 

How is bird flu detected in humans? (top)

A laboratory test is needed to confirm avian influenza in humans.

 

How is bird flu treated in humans?  (top)

Studies done in laboratories suggest that the prescription medicines approved for human influenza viruses should work in treating avian influenza infection in humans. However, influenza viruses can become resistant to these drugs, so these medications may not always work. Additional studies are needed to determine the effectiveness of these medicines.

 

What drugs are available for treatment? (top)

Two drugs (in the neuraminidase inhibitors class), oseltamivir (commercially known as Tamiflu) and zanamivir (commercially known as Relenza) can reduce the severity and duration of illness caused by seasonal influenza. The efficacy of the neuraminidase inhibitors depends, among others, on their early administration ( within 48 hours after symptom onset). For cases of human infection with H5N1, the drugs may improve prospects of survival, if administered early, but clinical data are limited. The H5N1 virus is expected to be susceptible to the neuraminidase inhibitors. Antiviral resistance to neuraminidase inhibitors has been clinically negligible so far but is likely to be detected during widespread use during a pandemic.

An older class of antiviral drugs, the M2 inhibitors amantadine and rimantadine, could potentially be used against pandemic influenza, but resistance to these drugs can develop rapidly and this could significantly limit their effectiveness against pandemic influenza. Some currently circulating H5N1 strains are fully resistant to these the M2 inhibitors. However, should a new virus emerge through re-assortment, the M2 inhibitors might be effective.

For the neuraminidase inhibitors, the main constraints – which are substantial – involve limited production capacity and a price that is prohibitively high for many countries. At present manufacturing capacity, which has recently quadrupled, it will take a decade to produce enough oseltamivir to treat 20% of the world’s population. The manufacturing process for oseltamivir is complex and time-consuming, and is not easily transferred to other facilities.

So far, most fatal pneumonia seen in cases of H5N1 infection has resulted from the effects of the virus, and cannot be treated with antibiotics. Nonetheless, since influenza is often complicated by secondary bacterial infection of the lungs, antibiotics could be life-saving in the case of late-onset pneumonia. WHO regards it as prudent for countries to ensure adequate supplies of antibiotics in advance.

 

Does the current seasonal influenza vaccine protect me from avian influenza?  (top)

No. Influenza vaccine for the 2005-06 season does not provide protection against avian influenza.

 

What is the status of vaccine development and production? (top)

Vaccines effective against a pandemic virus are not yet available. Vaccines are produced each year for seasonal influenza but will not protect against pandemic influenza. Although a vaccine against the H5N1 virus is under development in several countries, no vaccine is ready for commercial production and no vaccines are expected to be widely available until several months after the start of a pandemic.

Some clinical trials are now under way to test whether experimental vaccines will be fully protective and to determine whether different formulations can economize on the amount of antigen required, thus boosting production capacity. Because the vaccine needs to closely match the pandemic virus, large-scale commercial production will not start until the new virus has emerged and a pandemic has been declared. Current global production capacity falls far short of the demand expected during a pandemic.

 

What are the implications of bird flu to human health?  (top)

Two main risks for human health from avian influenza are 1) the risk of direct infection when the virus passes from the infected bird to humans, sometimes resulting in severe disease; and 2) the risk that the virus – if given enough opportunities – will change into a form that is highly infectious for humans and spreads easily from person to person.

 

Should I wear a surgical mask to prevent exposure to avian influenza?  (top)

Currently, wearing a mask is not recommended for routine use (e.g., in public) for preventing influenza exposure. In the United States, disposable surgical and procedure masks have been widely used in health-care settings to prevent exposure to respiratory infections, but the masks have not been used commonly in community settings, such as schools, businesses, and public gatherings.

 

Is it safe to eat poultry and poultry products? (top)

Yes, though certain precautions should be followed in countries currently experiencing outbreaks. In areas free of the disease, poultry and poultry products can be prepared and consumed as usual (following good hygienic practices and proper cooking), with no fear of acquiring infection with the H5N1 virus.

In areas experiencing outbreaks, poultry and poultry products can also be safely consumed provided these items are properly cooked and properly handled during food preparation. The H5N1 virus is sensitive to heat. Normal temperatures used for cooking (70°C in all parts of the food) will kill the virus. Consumers need to be sure that all parts of the poultry are fully cooked (no “pink” parts) and that eggs, too, are properly cooked (no “runny” yolks).

Consumers should also be aware of the risk of cross-contamination. Juices from raw poultry and poultry products should never be allowed, during food preparation, to touch or mix with items eaten raw. When handling raw poultry or raw poultry products, persons involved in food preparation should wash their hands thoroughly and clean and disinfect surfaces in contact with the poultry products Soap and hot water are sufficient for this purpose.

In areas experiencing outbreaks in poultry, raw eggs should not be used in foods that will not be further heat-treated as, for example by cooking or baking.

Avian influenza is not transmitted through cooked food. To date, no evidence indicates that anyone has become infected following the consumption of properly cooked poultry or poultry products, even when these foods were contaminated with the H5N1 virus.

 

We have a small flock of chickens. Is it safe to keep them?  (top)

Yes. In the United States there is no need at present to remove a flock of chickens because of concerns regarding avian influenza. The U.S. Department of Agriculture monitors potential infection of poultry and poultry products by avian influenza viruses and other infectious disease agents.

 

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contributing factors of this condition.

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