An outbreak of avian influenza, Bird Flu has been affirmed in Kathmandu. More than 300 crows were found dead a few weeks ago in Kathmandu due to this H5N1 virus. However, the doctors have suggested everyone to not panic as avian influenza has lower risks on humankind.
It sure has not created much panic here in Nepal among us humans. Nonetheless, it is still very vital that you know certain things about it in order to be safe. So, here we present everything you need to know about avian influenza, Bird Flu.
The Avian Influenza
The influenza type A causes Avian Influenza, the same kind of virus that causes seasonal flu in humans. The flu is fundamentally a bird disease. It is deadly to most birds and it’s deadly to humans as well as other mammals that catch the virus from birds.
Although the occasional cases of bird flu in farmers have had sad outcomes around the world causing death to many, the virus doesn’t tend to transmit from person to person. Finding the reasons for this is a very active area of scientific research, but it looks likely that the main factor is that bird flu finds it difficult to stick to and enter the cells of human airways. As a result, you need a fairly massive dose to become infected.
The symptoms of bird flu are much like those of regular flu and include:
- Sore Throat
- Muscle Aches
- Shortness of Breath
Who is at highest risk from avian influenza?
The only people who are likely to receive that kind of exposure are farmers who spend all day with their poultry. This is why the majority of human bird flu cases are among farmers in the poorer parts of the world. In some cases, people have caught H5N1 from cleaning or plucking infected birds. Also, coming in contact with infected bird droppings can also cause you the flu. There have been cases in China that people suffered from influenza after swimming in water contaminated with the droppings of infected birds.
Can Bird Flu transmit from person to person?
As long as the bird flu virus doesn’t change into a human flu virus, it won’t transmit from person to person. However, sometimes, the flue can transmit after having close personal contact with the infected person.
In 2006, influenza spread to eight members of the same family in Indonesia and seven of them died due to it. Since the studies have shown that the flu is not transmitted with casual contacts, the reason behind their deaths was surrounded by many assumptions. Maybe they died because they had similar contacts with infected birds, or maybe they shared genes that made them particularly susceptible to the virus. Therefore, since the answer is still not clear, it is very vital that we maintain our safety while contacting with an infected person.
Is There a Vaccine?
Although the U.S. government has a stockpile of a vaccine against H5N1 bird flu, there is no commercially available vaccine for humans against any bird flu strains. However, in order to prevent yourself from the virus, avoid contacts with sick poultry and any ill-appearing or dead birds.
In the context of Nepal…
Nepal has been witnessing bird flu outbreaks since the year 2009. Most of the time, the disease was found in chicken, however, this year, we witnessed dozens of crows being the victim of the flu.
In the context of Nepal, a lot of people seem to cut-out chicken and eggs to avoid the flu. However, studies say that people don’t catch the virus from eating fully cooked chicken or eggs.
Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. It is provided for educational purposes only.