Understanding Avian Influenza

Understanding Avian Influenza

Avian influenza, more commonly known as Bird Flu is a virus adapted to birds. It is a contagious disease and infects only birds. There are very rare instances where the humans have been affected by this virus. In these instances the humans affected could have been in direct touch with the infected birds.

Like the flu that affects humans, one can find different varieties in bird flu as well. There may be a particular flu which has mild symptoms, like reduced egg production. While the others might be too severe and may kill the birds. One such type of bird flu is H5N1 type of bird flu, which has chances mutating into a form to be able to spread from person to person.  Bird flu is spread more commonly by migrating birds, across country borders as well. When a bird comes in contact with the secretion, saliva or feces of the infected bird, it can catch bird flu. But the good thing is that there are vaccines that can prevent a bird flu infection from spreading to the humans. However, a vaccine for H5N1 is yet to be developed.

There is great deal of precaution that is taken in countries all over the world. The affected countries where there have been outbreaks of bird flu have killed hundreds of millions of birds and the countries like the United States have stopped importing poultry from where countries where there have been such outbreaks. It is believed that only 387 cases of bird flu in humans have been reported in the last five years.

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Understanding Avian Influenza