Bird Flu: Causes, Symptoms & Treatment
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Bird Flu: Causes, Symptoms & Treatment
Posted On : 05 January 2021, 6 Months Ago. Health-wellness
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In a recent update, the central government noted that the presence of bird flu in poultry has been confirmed in over 9 states so far. With this range being widened to include cows as well as wild and migratory birds, this number of states that have detected the disease increases to 12.

 

What is Bird Flu?

 

Avian influenza/Avian flu, more commonly referred to as bird flu, is a viral infection found in birds. However, the infection is not limited to the species and can spread among species and also, from animal to man. Bird flu is fatal for birds infected with it. However, there are significant consequences for human infections as well. While most forms of the virus are limited to birds, the most common iteration found in humans, H5N1 has a mortality rate of over 60% causing a slew of bird flu deaths.

In this article, we will have a look at what bird flu is, the impact it can have, as well as any measures you can take to reduce chances of infection given its spread in the country.

 

Causes of Bird Flu

 

The first major avian flu outbreak was noted in Hong Kong in 1997, where bird flu was caused by the poultry being infected and passing it on those in close contact.

The virus is usually incubated in nature itself from waterfowl and is contracted by any bird or animal species that share the habitat. The most cause of the virus’ spread to humans however is poultry. Unsanitary conditions for cooped up animals can cause an infection to run wild among the population. While till date there exists no record of human-to-human transmission, bird flu is caused by individuals coming in close contact with infected bird/animal species.

Bird flu is caused by coming in contact with livestock, though scientists have found no proper evidence of contracting the disease through the consumption of eggs/bird meat from an infected animal. It is recommended that eggs should not be left runny, and meat cooked at a temperature above 73 degrees is also considered safe.

 

Symptoms of Bird Flu

 

Bird flu symptoms display themselves as those of any other flu. Such typical flu-like symptoms include basic ones such as a cough and cold, possible headaches and mild fevers. In some cases, if the infection is more severe, patients could develop diarrhoea and a sore throat, as well as a potential pain in the muscles and respiratory issues.

 

Treatment of Bird Flu 

 

The treatment for bird flu is similar to any other typical flu or flu-like infection, wherein the symptoms are treated in order to combat the disease as a whole. A number of drugs are recommended antibiotics for the fight against bird flu such as oseltamivir, zanamivir and peramivir. It is recommended these medicines be taken (upon consultation with a proper physician with proper instructions) within 48 hours of avian flu symptoms showing.

Generally, one could employ a slew of home remedies to combat the symptoms such as fevers, colds and a sore throat. However, to combat the disease itself, antiviral drugs are required.

 

How to Prevent Yourself from Bird Flu

 

While it is impossible for one to guarantee complete immunity against any disease/infection up until there is a sufficient vaccine, there are steps one could take to significantly reduce their exposure.

It is recommended that wild birds be observed only from a distance and one should avoid coming in contact with them. It is also recommended that for those coming in close contact with poultry that they avoid being in the vicinity of any dead birds and take proper biosecurity measures alongside adopting stringent hygiene practices.

 

Conclusion:

 

As the 12th state in India reports cases of the avian flu, bird flu is another on the list of diseases plaguing the country. While an infection is easily diagnosable and treatable, one must always have a backup plan if things go south. Alongside maintaining good hygiene practices and medical records, one must also have health insurance options as well as mediclaim policy available to their disposal. In the event that they contract the disease, financial hurdles should not intervene in successful treatment. In this way, with a combination of remedies, you can prevent from and protect against the bird flu, even if you do contract it.

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