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Be aware of bird flu

Published : Friday, 1 March, 2019 at 12:00 AM  Count : 1600

Be aware of bird flu

Be aware of bird flu

Bird flu, also known as avian influenza or avian flu, is an infectious disease of birds caused by type-A strains of the influenza virus. Avian influenza occurs worldwide and has become of great importance to animal and human health. This disease has been very disruptive to the poultry industry. It's deadly to birds and can easily affect humans and other animals that come in contact with a carrier.
History of bird flu
Avian influenza was first recorded in Italy in 1878. The disease, originally known as Fowl Plague, continuously caused massive outbreaks in poultry, including two outbreaks in the United States (1924 and 1929).
In 1955, it was discovered that the virus causing Fowl Plague was an influenza virus. According to the World Health Organization, highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5N1 was first discovered in humans in 1997 and has killed nearly 60 percent of those infected.
Public health officials are concerned that highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5N1 could mutate into a form that could spread from human to human. In recent years, H5N1 strain found in poultry has infected and killed humans and has been referred to as bird flu.
The disease is transmitted to humans through contact with infected bird feces, nasal secretions, or secretions from the mouth or eyes.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, migratory waterfowl are considered natural reservoirs of the avian influenza virus. Symptoms
Avian influenza viruses generally do not infect humans. However, some highly pathogenic strains of avian influenza have historically been responsible for cases of human infection and death.Symptom of avian influenza in human range from typical flu-like symptoms such as:
*    Fever (over 100.4F or 38C)
*    Cough
*    Sore throat
*    Respiratory difficulties
*    Diarrhea
*    Headache
*    Runny nose
*    Eye infections
*    Muscle aches
*    Malaise
*    Runny nose
Bird flu risk factors
The person may have a greater risk of contracting H5N1 if he/she are:
*    a poultry farmer
*    a traveler visiting affected areas
*    exposed to infected birds
*    someone who eats undercooked poultry or eggs
*    a healthcare worker caring for infected patients
*    a household member of an infected person
Following tests to look for the presence of the virus that causes bird flu:
*    Influenza A/H5 (Asian lineage) virus real-time RT-PCR primer and probe set. It can offer preliminary results in only four hours.
*    white blood cell differential
*    nasopharyngeal culture
*    chest X-ray
Dr Md Anwar Hossain MBBS (DU), MPH (MMC)

Dr Md Anwar Hossain MBBS (DU), MPH (MMC)

Treatment for bird flu
In most cases, treatment with antiviral medication such as oseltamivir (Tamiflu) or zanamivir (Relenza) can help reduce the severity of the disease. However, the medication must be taken within 48 hours after symptoms first appear.
The virus that causes the human form of the flu can develop resistance to the two most common forms of antiviral medications, amantadine and rimantadine (Flumadine). These medications shouldn't be used to treat the disease.
Family or others in close contact with you might also be prescribed antivirals as a preventive measure, even if they aren't sick.
*    sepsis (a possibly fatal inflammatory response to bacteria and other germs)
*    pneumonia
*    organ failure
*    acute respiratory distress
Avian influenza and food safety:
Human infections of avian influenza have resulted from direct contact with poultry. Many people are concerned about consuming poultry meat and eggs. It is important to remember that no one has become sick after eating properly cooked poultry or eggs. Good food handling practices will prevent food borne illnesses.
*    Wash hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds before and after handling raw poultry and eggs.
*    During meal preparation, juices from raw poultry should never be allowed to touch or mix with foods that will be eaten raw.
*    Cutting boards and contaminated surfaces should be sanitized by scrubbing with soap and hot water.
*    Cook poultry to an internal temperature of at least 165 ?F. Ensure there are no pink parts.
*    The H5N1 virus can survive for at least 1 month at low temperatures. For this reason, refrigerated or frozen poultry should be handled and prepared with the same precautions as fresh products.
*    Cook eggs until the yolks and whites are firm.
Protecting yourself and others from Avian influenza:
The best way to protect yourself from all flu viruses is to practice good hygiene and sanitation.
*    Wash your hands after contact with animals.
*    Avoid contact with animals that appear to be sick. If you must handle sick or dead birds, wear gloves and avoid contact with droppings. Do not touch your mouth, nose, or eyes with your hands until they have been washed.
*    Owners of domestic livestock, including poultry and waterfowl, should contact their local veterinarian if any of their animals appear sick.
*    Thoroughly cook eggs and meat prior to eating; poultry should reach an internal temperature of 165 F. Wash all utensils and preparation areas thoroughly with soap and hot water to prevent cross contamination to other foods. Wash your hands frequently when preparing food.
*    Hunters should hunt and process only healthy animals and should wear gloves when handling any animal.
*    Get a seasonal flu vaccine. While the seasonal flu will not prevent AI infections, it will help prevent mutant variants of the virus from forming. If two different subtypes infect the same host they could combine to produce a more infectious strain.

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