Which came first, the chicken or the egg? Well, the answer to this question becomes of little importance as the new discussion regarding birds crops up. The discussion about bird flu (Avian Influenza) – what is it, how is it spread, what causes it, what are its symptoms and what is the treatment?
Bird flu first broke out in India in 2006† In January 2019, the outbreak resurfaced in Patna, Bihar, with the death of more than 650 chickens† Today, social media is overflowing with discussions and debates about terrorism, obesity, stress, climate change, etc., while infectious diseases have been by far the greatest killer of people throughout history.
Taking into account the recent outbreak, it is essential that you know what Avian Influenza is all about. In this article, we will cover the details about the same.
What is bird flu?
†Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner!!’– Well, not so fast. It is important to learn the basic facts about bird flu to avoid the infection.
Just like humans, birds also get the flu. Bird flu is also known as bird flu. It refers to a group of viral infections that spread to birds, animals, and even humans. Most forms of the virus are limited to birds. The most common type of bird flu infection, which can spread in humans, is H5N1.
H5N1, a subtype of bird flu, has a high mortality rate. It can be fatal in 60 percent of cases. The infection often affects wild birds. The bird flu virus is highly contagious and has a major impact on domestic birds such as chickens, turkeys and ducks.
Avian flu remains a concern among health officials and experts. It is feared that if the bird flu virus mutates into a form that is passed from person to person, it could lead to a worldwide outbreak. Therefore, the basic knowledge about the facts of Avian Flu should be discussed more.
How does bird flu spread?
Wild birds tend to carry the infection in their gut. However, they usually do not get infected by it. It occurs naturally in birds.
Infected birds transmit the virus to susceptible birds. They shed the virus through their saliva, nasal secretions, and bird droppings (feces). Sensitive birds become infected when they come into contact with these secretions or the surface of these secretions.
Humans, on the other hand, become infected when they come into close contact with these sensitive birds. Most cases of highly pathogenic avian flu in humans result from close contact with infected poultry or contaminated surfaces. But ‘close culture’ differs per culture and therefore determines whether or not you are infected with bird flu.
There is no evidence in medical science of the human-to-human spread of this infection.
Should Eating Chicken Be Avoided?
No, it is safe to eat well-cooked chicken and eggs. Humans do not get Avian Influenza from eating cooked poultry. Because the virus is sensitive to heat, experts believe that the infection eventually dies when the poultry is cooked above 70 degrees Celsius (normally, that temperature in households is automatically reached during cooking). Eggs should be cooked until the yolks and whites are firm. Good hygiene practices should be followed when preparing poultry meat.
So if you want to eat chicken delicacies, cook the food well and thoroughly to eliminate the virus.
How to identify if someone has bird flu – symptoms?
People are not easily infected with the bird virus, but there is a chance of contracting the infection.
H5N1 infection can be identified in a person if the following symptoms are visible:
- Running nose
- cold sweat
- Loss of appetite
- Sore throat
- Difficulty sleeping
- Fever above 100 degrees Fahrenheit
- Bleeding gums
- Sore muscles and joints
- hoarse voice
- Bleeding in sputum
- Eye infection (a very rare symptom)
Most symptoms resemble the common flu. So you should consult a doctor before deciding for yourself whether you have bird flu or not. A rapid deterioration in health is a sign of bird flu.
If you experience any of the symptoms during seasonal flu outbreaks, it is recommended that you see doctors or disease control and prevention centers immediately. Inform the doctor if you have visited a farm, held a deceased or dead bird before cooking, or come into close contact with poultry.
What are the risk factors of developing bird flu?
The biggest risk factor for becoming infected with H5N1 bird flu is ‘close contact’ with infected birds.
Touching or coming into direct contact with the contaminated surface is an important risk factor.
You may be at high risk of getting infected if:
- You visit or own a poultry farm
- You are exposed to the infected birds
- You treat or care for sick birds
- You eat undercooked poultry or eggs
- You slaughter or slaughter infected birds
- You touch unwashed eggs of infected birds
- You touch water contaminated with infection from sick birds
- You visit open markets where infected birds are offered for sale
How Is Bird Flu Diagnosed?
Experts have approved a test to identify H5N1 infection in humans. The test is called Influenza A/H5 (Asian Lineage) virus real-time primer and probe set.
Unfortunately, the test is not widely available.
If your symptoms are similar to those of bird flu, your doctor may consult with you to perform chest X-rays and differential tests for white blood cells, including for disease control and prevention.
What is the prevention for bird flu?
Unfortunately, it is not yet possible to prevent bird flu from spreading. It is always better to prevent something bad from happening than to fix it after it has happened.
A bird flu vaccine has been approved by medical authorities to prevent the H5N1 virus infection. It has not yet been made public. (The authorities are putting it in a pile to use in case of an epidemic).
One of the most important means of prevention for bird flu is getting the flu vaccine. This is to prevent the human form of the flu.
People can be responsible for their health and take some very simple but helpful precautions to avoid the flu. These precautions include:
- Wash your hands regularly with warm water and soap
- Cough with the mouth covered with a tissue or handkerchief
- Staying isolated when you have the flu to prevent the spread of the infection
Oseltamivir Tamiflu is used by some doctors for disease control and prevention and as an internal medicine for treatment.
There are no restrictions on traveling to a country with the rise of bird flu. However, if you are traveling to a country with bird flu, keep the following in mind:
- Avoid visiting farms or open-air markets
- Keep a sanitizer and use it regularly to clean your hands
- Ask your doctor for a flu shot before you travel
What is the treatment for bird flu?
The treatment of bird flu can vary, depending on the symptoms presented by the patient.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), patients can be prescribed antiviral drugs. The antiviral drug is said to suppress the complications of the flu and improve the patient’s condition.
The dosage of the drug depends on how severe the patient’s condition is.
Medical professionals advise patients with bird flu to take complete rest, consume large amounts of fluids, and eat the right nutrients.
In most severe cases, where the patient’s condition appears to be deteriorating drastically, the doctor may advise the patient to be treated in hospital immediately.
How can you protect yourself and make a living?
It is important to know your health insurance coverage to know whether bird flu is covered or not. In general, publicly funded and private health insurance covers bird flu and other infections. But how can farms protect their farms against bird flu and other unexpected events? The standard agricultural insurance covers damage to livestock. However, it does not cover disease. To cover livestock during times of illness, farm owners must invest in specialist livestock insurance policies, which are available from farm insurance providers.
Bird flu can affect livestock and the entire family business. Farm owners can provide for their livelihood by: Ontario Farm Insurance or local insurance. Agricultural insurance generally covers the following:
Protect your produce, expensive farm equipment and livestock from such an unexpected loss by taking out comprehensive farm insurance.
Farm insurance protects your farm against damage caused by high winds, storms, fire and other major disasters.
Livestock insurance, a special coverage for farm insurance, provides additional protection for a herd or single animal against diseases, such as bird flu, anthrax, tuberculosis, and other risks. Farm owners can talk to a farm insurer to determine their best insurance options.
Having comprehensive and tailor-made farm insurance provides peace of mind that you are covered for farm and civil liability in the event of personal injury claims or lawsuits. Farm claims include falls, heat stress, chemical exposure, suffocation and animal-related injuries.
To take off
In January 2019, more than 600 poultry birds and other animals died. As a result, the authorities had killed more than 2000 poultry. The incident sparked a bird flu fear and also gave way to discussions on the subject.
The deadly disease affected everyone, especially non-vegetarians. Because they were worried about whether to eat poultry meat and eggs or not. The cloud of confusion has now lifted. You can go ahead and eat your favorite chicken dish be it chicken tikka, tandoori chicken, butter chicken or any other delicacy. However, you must be sure that the food is fully cooked. Also keep in mind that you should maintain good hand hygiene before and after eating your meals.
Information and education about such a deadly flu should be made regularly to familiarize people with the basic information about the same.
If you think you have symptoms similar to those listed above in this article, please contact a doctor today or book an appointment with Credihealth.
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