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How bird flu can affect your health?

Avian influenza (bird flu) refers to influenza strains that primarily affect wild birds and poultry, but can occasionally infect humans sporadically. Bird flu is named H or N, depending on the protein present on the surface of the virus.

H5N1 has the ability to survive for a long time. Birds infected with H5N1 continue to release the virus in their faeces and saliva for 10 days. Touching a contaminated surface can spread the infection.

You may be at increased risk of being infected with H5N1 in the following cases:

  • Poultry farmer
  • Travelers visiting the disaster area
  • Exposed to infected birds
  • People who eat poorly cooked chicken and eggs
  • Healthcare professionals taking care of infected patients

Symptoms of Bird Flu

If you experience the following typical influenza-like symptoms, you may be infected with H5N1.

  • cough
  • diarrhea
  • Dyspnea
  • Fever (100.4 ° F or 38 ° C or higher)
  • headache
  • muscle pain
  • Discomfort
  • Runny nose
  • sore throat

If you are infected with bird flu, you should notify staff before arriving at the clinic or hospital. By alerting them in advance, they can take precautions to protect staff and other patients before attending to you.

Treatment of Bird Flu

Due to the small number of human cases, it was not possible to conduct rigorous medical or drug treatment trials for bird flu. The CDC suggests that the best way to prevent bird flu is to avoid exposure to birds and their feces as much as possible. It is advised not to touch dead or unsightly birds. The CDC and the World Health Organization (WHO) currently recommend the antiviral drugs oseltamivir (Tamiflu) and zanamivir (Relenza) for the treatment and prevention of avian influenza A virus and supportive therapy. The US government is currently stocking the H5N1 vaccine in case the virus begins to spread easily from person to person. Currently, there is no vaccine to prevent H7N9 avian influenza.

Some potential complications are:

  • Sepsis (potential fatal inflammatory response to bacteria and other bacteria)
  • pneumonia
  • Organ failure
  • Acute respiratory distress

Contact your doctor if you have flu symptoms within 10 days of handling birds or traveling to areas known to have bird flu.

Bird flu outbreaks have been affecting poultry around the globe for decades, and culling of infected birds has been a common measure to contain the spread. Read more about it on Indian Express.

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