Avian Influenza first occurred in Italy, but nowdays is spread along the world. It is an infectious disease caused by type A strains of the influenza virus. All birds are supposed to be susceptible to the avian influenza, but particularly domestic poultry.
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. 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. If the bird flu virus recombines with a human flu virus and mutate it may become possible the transmission from human to human as happened in Asia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Cambodia Thailand, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Eygpt, China, and Iraq where people died.
Bird flu affected Australia in 1997 but, was eradicated. Water birds are supposed to carry the avian influenza type A virus inside their intestines and to distribute it in the environment through bird faeces. In highly contagious forms results in severe epidemics and rapid death. In Hong-Kong it has been declared pandemic.
H5N1is considered to be dangerous because it mutates rapidly and aquires genes from viruses infecting other animal species and human. The more affected were the birds of avian influenza the more dangerous was the infection for human beings, transmited by migratory birds. This could be the start for influenza pandemic.
Symptoms and treatments
Patients usually develop fever, sore throat, cough, severe respiratory distress and viral pneumonia. The people which were affected are of all ages in different states of health. Luckily, there are rapid tests for diagnosing all influenza strains. Antiviral drugs have some limitations, although they are effective in the treatment and prevention of influenza A virus strains. If a new virus subtype occures, it takes some time to produce a new vaccine to be efficient.
The World Health Organization (WHO) makes reports and updates regarding new human cases of infection with bird flu. It is also important to question patients if they had direct or indirect contact with sick chickens or other birds. Not allowing chickens to roam freely, correctly informate the community, advise public not to catch, get near or keep in captivity wild birds are important requirements in order to prevent a catastrophal pandemic. We must 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.
For more information about bird flu or even about bird flu prevention please review this page http://www.bird-flu-info-center.com/bird-flu-prevention.htm