05 Jun 2019
Avian Influenza, Avian Flu or Bird Flu is an infection caused by influenza virus Type A which is found in birds. This virus is very deadly if it infects human. Out of the many strains of Influenza A virus, only 5 types are known to affect majorly: H5N1, H7N3, H7N7, H7N9, and H9N2.
The virus spreads via contact with an infected bird’s secretions from eyes, mouth, nose or feces during slaughtering or plucking and can spread in masses through:
- Open markets where birds and their eggs are sold in unsanitary conditions
- Indoor commercial poultry
- Backyard and hobby flocks
- Bird collection and trading system like cockfighting
Undercooked poultry meat or egg can also transmit this flu.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS –
The symptoms may appear within 2-7 days of infection:
- Nausea, vomiting or diarrhea
- Fever, cough and headache
- Sore throat
- Muscle pain
- Shortness of breath
Some may even suffer from conjunctivitis.
Respiratory sample of the patient is taken and tested by AVantage A/H5N1 Flu Test for the presence of influenza virus.
- Medications like Antivirals
RISK FACTORS –
Contact with sick birds is the major risk factor for getting Avian Influenza.
- Bird flu vaccine
- Cook properly and thoroughly
- Avoid cross contamination
- Avoid food containing egg shells
- Culling of infected birds
- Improve poultry farming and market areas
People travelling to places with bird flu outbreaks should take precautions like:
- Wash hands or use alcohol based sanitizer
- Avoid domesticated birds
- Take a flu vaccine
- Mostly prominent in Southeast Asia and nearby regions.
- This infection is rare but direct contact with infected animals increases the chances of getting affected by Avian influenza.