Bird flu or Avian influenza is an infection in birds. The Avian flu virus that causes the bird infection is liable to mutate and change. This allows the strain to infect humans. It is one of the many strains that some believe could start a deadly worldwide flu epidemic.
Records show that the first strain of avian influenza virus to infect humans occurred in Hong Kong in 1997. The outbreak was traced to chickens and classified as avian influenza A (H5N1).
Other cases of Bird flu infections have been reported in Africa, Europe, Indonesia, Vietnam Asia and the Pacific. Figures how that in total many hundreds of people across the world have become sick with this virus. Worryingly, statistics have shown that more than 60% of those who became ill with Bird or Avian influenza have died. Some experts believe this is a combination of lack of flu treatment and outbreaks in areas that do not have access to suitable health care and medication.
Bird / Avian Flu Symptoms
Symptoms of Bird flu infections in humans depends entirely on the strain of virus together with the health and age of the person.
As with most flu infections, there are common symptoms that accompany this type of flu.
Symptoms might include:
- A dry or productive cough
- Diarrhea and or vomiting
- Difficulty breathing and shortness of breathe
- A Fever greater than (38°C)
- Muscular aches and pains
- A runny nose and congestion
- Sore throat and swollen glands
Treatment of Bird / Avian Flu
The treatment of bird flu is usually an antiviral medication such as oseltamivir (Tamiflu) or zanamivir (Relenza). The antiviral drugs make the infection and symphonic less severe if the “infected” are treated with the flu medication within 48 hours after your symptoms start.
It is also common that people occupying the same living quarters of a person with Bird flu is prescribed with Oseltamivir, this decreases the chances of others becoming infected and also reduces the severity of the symptoms to those that to catch it.
If you think you have Bird or Avian flu then we strongly advise you seek advice and council from the your local GP or health care professional In cases where an outbreak of Bird Flu infections occurs its recommended that persons infected contact their doctor via telephone or other remote means. This reduces the chance of further spreading the virus.