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Bird Flu

Avian influenza - known informally as avian flu or bird flu - refers to "influenza caused by viruses adapted to birds." Of the greatest concern is highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI). It can affect commercial, wild and pet birds including chickens, duck, turkeys and geese. There are many types of viruses but the type that is causing concern at the moment is the influenza A strain H5N1.
Avian flu passes from birds to other birds and humans by infected birds. All most all the people have contracted the virus following close or direct contact with infected birds. Human to human transmission is possible but only a single case has been reported up to now.

How can humans get Avian Flu?

People can infect the disease by being close to live infected birds, including any of the following types of contact: touching infected birds, being in contact with their saliva or fluids from their nose, or being in contact with, or inhaling dried dust from their droppings.
Another source can be live markets where birds are sold in unsanitary (unclean) conditions, so avoid visiting these if you are traveling in countries that have had an outbreak.

Signs and symptoms of bird flu ?

The time from infection to the start of symptoms is usually between 3 and 5 days. The symptoms can last for a week. Symptoms are similar at first to other types of human flu symptoms like fever, cough, sore throat, muscle aches, conjunctivitis and diarrhea .
However, these symptoms become quickly worsen over a few days to include severe breathing problems and severe pneumonia which may result in death.

Management

Anti viral drugs - Tami flu, oseltamivir etc is used to treat severe disease and patients who fall in to high risk group.

Prevention and Control of Bird flu

  • practice good hygiene, such as regular hand washing,
  • cover your mouth with tissues when coughing or sneezing,
  • put the used tissues in the bin straight away after use and wash your hands,
  • keep away from public places if you are ill and avoid contact with children or people with chronic illnesses,
  • when attending a medical practice, alert the receptionist to your symptoms so you can be seated away from others and possibly be given a surgical mask
  • Avian flu is not transmitted through properly cooked food.

    Following simple measures taken during cooking can prevent the spread of the disease.

  • Store cooked sand raw meats separately
  • When cooking meat use different utensils for cooked and raw meat
  • Wash your hands and utensils thoroughly before and after handling meat
  • Make sure that meat is thoroughly cooked before serving.
  • Cutting meat in to smaller pieces and cooking in a closed container helps to cook the meat thoroughly.
  • When cooking /boiling eggs do until the egg yellow is hard
  • Symptoms of Avian flu in Birds

    Respiratory difficulties, swelling of feet, or around the beak , nasal secretions, diarrhea, poor feeding and reduction in number of eggs produced. Death of large number of birds also can indicate the possibility of birds flu among your poultry.

    What can Poultry farmers do to prevent the spread of Avian Flu ?

  • keep the birds in enclosed areas and preventing contact with wild birds, to Safe disposal of bird's droppings.
  • Watch out for following symptoms in birds and inform the veterinary surgeon of the area if you notice any of them in your birds.
  • Keep the dead birds covered and inform the necessary authorities.
  • Covering the whole body including nose, mouth, and limbs before entering the cages where the birds are kept.
  • Wash the body, clothes and instruments with soap and water after working in the poultry farm.
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