What's Avian Flu

What is Avian Flu?

Avian flu, also known as avian influenza or bird flu, is a viral disease that primarily affects birds. The virus can be transmitted between different species of birds, but it also can spread from birds to humans. In some cases, the virus can mutate and become more easily transmissible between humans, leading to global health concerns.

What Causes Avian Flu?

An infection present in wild aquatic birds causes avian flu. This influenza spreads from wild birds to poultry. Humans more commonly get infected from the poultry than from a wild bird.

Unsanitary handling of sick poultry is usually what causes bird flu infections in humans. Open-air poultry markets are another major cause of bird flu infections. Once a human is infected, they can spread it to other humans.

What are Common Avian Flu Symptoms?

Avian flu shows different symptoms in animals and humans. Symptoms of bird flu in birds and humans are different.

avian flu chicken symptoms

Common avian flu chicken symptoms

The most common bird flu symptoms in chickens include:

– Swollen head

– Blue comb and wattle

– Low egg production

– Respiratory illness

– Diarrhea

Common avian flu symptoms in humans

Main symptoms of bird flu in humans are:

– Shortness of breath

– Cough

– Red eye infection

– Abdominal pain

– Seizures

– Fever

– Pneumonia

– Respiratory problems

– Sore throat

– Muscle ache

– Headache

Most symptoms of bird flu in humans become obvious at a late stage. Currently, several types of bird flu does not affect humans. However, these strains are deadly to most domestic birds.

how does avian flu spread

How Does Avian Flu Spread?

  • Bird-to-bird contact

– Avian flu quickly spreads from infected to healthy birds, even with short-term contact.

– Infected birds easily transmit avian flu across the entire flock.

  • Bird-to-human contact

– Avian influenza spreads to humans when they handle unhealthy birds. Humans could get infected with avian flu during slaughtering of infected birds.

– Avian flu also spreads from birds to humans when people get exposed to droppings of infected birds.

  • Human-to-human contact

– Long contact with a person infected with avian flu is a major spreader of the virus among humans.

  • Poultry trades

– Avian flu spreads through illegal and legal poultry trades from Asia to Europe.

– Major poultry trade routes transmit avian flu among different bird and animal species.

Avian Flu and Humans: Major Stats

  • 6 out of 10 humans infected with the H5N1 virus are likely to die.
  • Currently, H5N1 and H7N9 are the two most dangerous avian flu strains to humans. Mortality rates among people diagnosed with H5N1 is over 50, while H7N9 mortality is over 35%.
  • Four continents have recorded avian flu outbreaks among humans since 1996
Is there a vaccine for avian flu

Is There a Vaccine for Avian Flu?

Vaccines for humans

In 2007, the FDA approved a vaccine that prevents bird flu infection. It is typically only recommended for people who are at high risk of exposure to the virus, such as poultry workers or healthcare professionals who may come into contact with infected patients.

Vaccines for birds

In some countries, poultry are vaccinated for avian flu as a preventive measure. However, vaccination policies can vary depending on the country and the specific strain of avian flu virus that is prevalent in the region.

What are the Steps to Prevent Avian Flu Spread and Infection?

Several preventive measures are effective in containing the spread of avian flu. These steps include the following:

  • Isolate poultry from contact with wild birds. Poultry operators should protect birds from contact with outside animals.
  • Regular disinfection of poultry transport vehicles. Poultry farms should not share transport vehicles to avoid spreading the flu.
  • Do not handle sick or dead birds, and avoid visiting live bird markets or farms where there have been reports of avian flu outbreaks.
  • If you work with poultry regularly, wear protective clothing such as gloves, boots, and goggles to minimize your risk of exposure.
  • Proper handling of poultry during and after slaughter helps prevent avian flu infection.
  • Thorough hand washing after touching uncooked poultry birds
  • Make sure that all poultry products are cooked to an internal temperature of at least 165°F (74°C) to kill any potential viruses.
  • High-risk groups such as healthcare workers and poultry farmers may be vaccinated against avian flu to protect against infection.
  • If you develop symptoms such as fever, coughing, and difficulty breathing after being exposed to poultry or their products, seek medical attention immediately.

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