Avian Influenza

Viruses adapted to birds causes influenza known as avian influenza or bird flu. Avian flu is infectious flu of birds. Viruses that cause influenza in birds belong to the species called influenza A virus.Most of the avian influenza viruses do not cause infection in humans.Influenza virus that causes serious infection in humans are A(H5N1) and A(H7N9).First step to decrease the risk in humans is to control the disease in animals.Sometimes Avian influenza virus spread to domestic poultry and outbreak of serious disease takes place.Disease can not spread to human through properly cooked food.
Based on the ability to cause disease in poultry Avian Influenza virus is divided into two groups: high pathogenicity and low pathogenicity.
High pathogenic virus causes death within 48 hours.
Low pathogenic virus causes outbreak in poultry but are not associated with severe disease.Causes of Avian Fluenza

Avian influenza virus is responsible for causing avian flu or bird flu. First infection in human by avian influenza virus was reported in Hong Kong in 1997. Avian influenza virus survives in environment for long period of time. Avian flu is highly infectious disease. infected birds give off the virus in their feces and saliva as long as 10 days.

Risk of being affected with the disease is higher in following conditions:
• Working in poultry.
• Travelling to countries where virus exists.
• Touching an infected bird.
• Coming in contact with a person having bird flu.
• Eating raw or under cooked poultry.

Avian Influenza Signs and symptoms

• Diarrhea.
• Cough.
• Cold, runny nose.
• Sore throat.
• Trouble in breathing.
• Fever higher than 100.4 degree F
• Muscle ache.

Investigations of Avian Influenza

• Chest X-ray.
• Nasopharyngeal culture.
• Throat virus detection by RT-PCR.
• White blood cell differentiation.
• Nasopharyngeal virus detection by RT-PCR.
• Auscultation.

Treatment of Avian Influenza

Treatment is based on the symptoms.
• Antiviral medication.
• Breathing machine may be required in patients with severe infection.
• Infected people should be isolated from non-infected people.

Complication of Avian Influenza

• Pneumonia.
• Acute respiratory failure.
• Organ failure.
• Sepsis.

Prognosis of Avian Infuenza

Prognosis depends on severity of the infection.The disease can prove fatal.

Prevention of Avian influenza

• Avoid travelling to countries affected by the virus.
• Protective clothing and breathing masks should be used if one has to work with birds.
• Avoid eating under cooked or uncooked meat.

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