Useful information on Bird Flu
Bird Flu, also called avian Influenza, is caused by the Influenza viruses strain A. The most contagious group is H5N1 that produces epidemics and deaths in birds and humans. The disease was first identified over 100 years ago in Italy and since that time cases have appeared all over the world.
The most susceptible of Bird Flu are domestic poultry but all species of birds are believed to be sensitive to the disease. Wild birds though are more resistant to H5N1. Chickens and turkeys are most susceptible.
The infection caused by the Influenza triggers a large spectrum of symptoms in birds, leading from middle illness signs to a fatal ending. Bird flu is a very dangerous condition as it produces wide spreading epidemics in birds and the direct contact is highly contagious to human. The symptoms usually appear sudden and the mortality rate is almost in all cases 100%.
There are few known cases of illness transmission in man, in 1997 in Hong Kong 6 persons died of Bird Flu after a number of 16 got infected. Also susceptible to the disease are pigs. After those cases, the entire poultry population is Hong Kong was destroyed in order to prevent a catastrophic pandemic.
There are 15 species of Influenza virus known, but the most dangerous of all is H5N1 as it can trigger deadly diseases in human and can rapidly mutate producing uncontrollable new types. After they have survived the infection, birds still carry the active virus for 10 days and are able to transmit it on live poultry markets and by wild migratory birds. An increased number of sick human would trigger the risk of an infection with both bird and human infecting virus types. This would represent an opportunity for a pandemic flu transmitted also from human to human not only from sick birds to man.
The first occurring symptoms of the Bird Flu are fever, sore throat and cough. On an Influenza field, other dangerous complications like respiratory distress and multi-organ failure can appear causing a certain death. Different types of viral pneumonia have also been found complicating the Influenza infection.
Bird Flu can affect previously healthy children and adults, but the most susceptible are persons with different chronic conditions. All strains of the virus, of human and animal origin, can now be rapidly and surely be diagnosed with specifically testing. Today, very efficient antiviral drugs have been discovered; they can be used both in treatment and in the prevention of the infection with influenza virus type A. The antiviral grigs have their limitations, as they are expected to be more helpful in previous healthy persons.
The appearance of a new genetic mutation would require at least four months to detect an efficient vaccine for the entire affected area population.
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