This world is full of mind-blowing creatures that not only enhance the beauty of the Earth but also have an important role in maintaining it. However, sometimes, many innocent-looking creatures also come across dangerous problems that not only affect them but also the ones around them. Whether it may be humans, animals, or birds, several viruses and conditions are known to have affected almost each one of them and it leaves a troublesome situation in hand. While COVID is still on-going with no viable solution in sight, India has now received various cases of Bird Flu aka avian influenza.

Doctors Taking Sample of dead birds | what causes bird flu
©PTI

The disease is back in the country and various states have already started seeing cases and deaths caused due to it. However, many still don’t know much about Bird Flu to save themselves and their loved ones against it. This is why we have decided to cover some of the most important things revolving around bird flu. From bird flu symptoms to bird flu treatments, here is everything you need to know about this deadly disease.

What Is Bird Flu And What Causes It?

Also known as avian influenza, Bird Flu is a type of viral infection that has its effect not only on the birds, but also on humans and several other animals as well, but most forms of this virus are restricted to birds, that’s why the name Bird Flu. H5N1 is the most common type, and it can affect humans and other animals if they come in contact with the carrier. It came into existence in 1997 and is said to have killed nearly 60% of those who were affected by it.

Many experts and researchers believe that it has the capability to become a possible pandemic threat for humans as well as other animals.

H5N1 was the first type that infected humans, otherwise, bird flu has several types. It started in 1997 in Hong Kong and was mainly due to the poor handling of infected poultry. It could come in contact with human beings through infected bird feces, nasal secretions, or even the secretions from the mouth or eyes. However, properly cooked poultry, even if it’s infected, won’t infect us and it’s safe.

What Are The Symptoms Of Bird Flu? – Bird Flu Symptoms

There are high chances that you have H5N1 if you’re experiencing the typical flu-like symptoms which are as follows:

1. Cough

2. Diarrhea

3. Difficulty in Breathing

4. High fever

5. Headache

6. Muscle aches

7. Malaise

8. Runny Nose

9. Sore throat

Bird Flu Symptoms List
©Freepik / brgfx

If you think you have any of these bird flu symptoms then you should inform the doctors before reaching out to him or her in person, so that they can take preventive measures to avoid the flu.

Risk Factors Related to Avian Influenza

The risk to have H5N1 stays for quite some time once it appears anywhere, and is easily transferred via the carriers, as mentioned earlier. Your risk to come across H5N1 is higher if you are:

1. A poultry farmer

2. If you visit the areas which have been affected by it

3. Exposed to the birds who’ve been infected

4. If you eat undercooked eggs or poultry products

5. A household member or a healthcare worker who has been infected.

How Is Avian Influenza Diagnosed?

To test Bird Flu, there is one test approved by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention proven to show good results and it is called influenza A/H5 virus real-time RT-PCR primer and probe test. Before this, few of the following tests could be done for a better understanding of your problem:

1. Auscultation (to test abnormal breath sounds)

2. White blood cell differential

3. Nasopharyngeal culture

4. X-Ray of the Chest

Also Read: New Variant Of Covid -19 In India? What’s Happening?

What Is Bird Flu Treatment?

The bird flu(avian influenza) treatment depends on the type of bird flu, as there is a variety of them. But, the most common one is the treatment with antiviral medication, however, it is necessary to take it in 48 hours as the symptoms appear. With the medication, in most of the cases, things get fine, but a proper diagnosis by an expert would be the best option in a severe case.

How To Prevent Bird Flu?

If you’ve come across some of the bird flu symptoms, then doctors might give you a shot so that you don’t get the human strain of the virus. You should:

1. Avoid open-air markets especially to poultries

2. Avoid contact with possibly infected birds

3. Avoid eating undercooked eggs or poultry products

Maintain hygiene and wash hands regularly, which is a must during this already prevailing coronavirus pandemic. FDA has already approved a vaccine for use, but it isn’t used now because experts say that it should be used once it starts spreading amongst people.

Bird flu prevention | Avian Influenza Prevention
Image Source: Astral Hygiene UK Ltd

Why Should We Fear Even If We Have The Vaccine?

Firstly, it has been proved from past reports that about 60% of the people who had the flu, died, so it becomes a matter of concern and secondly, we never know when the virus could possibly mutate and start spreading from human to human, which it doesn’t do till now.

Recently, a few cases of Avian Influenza have been identified in states like Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi, and Kerala which has become a major reason to worry for the people living there. Although, WHO has said human to human transmission is very difficult in the case of H5N1 too, but it could be the start of a new deadly pandemic if it does. And it’ll be even worse than coronavirus, as the death rate is very low as compared to Bird Flu.

So, this was all you need to know about Bird Flu, bird flu symptoms, and other important information regarding the disease. We hope you follow the preventive measures, not just to prevent the flu but for any possible disease that could happen. Stay safe, stay healthy.

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