Avian influenza commonly known as avian flu or bird flu is an illness that is caused by viruses adapted to birds.”
The disease is caused by the influenza A virus.
A virus that is adapted to a particular species does not necessarily limit itself to that species it can also use other species as hosts, e.g. viruses responsible for influenza pandemics are adapted to both humans and birds.
There are other strains of flu adapted to different animals such as the swine flu.
Most of the affected birds are farm birds like Chicken and turkeys.
Humans usually get infected with bird flu as a result of either handling dead infected birds or from contact with infected fluids.
Though transmission of the disease from an infected bird to a human is easier, human-to-human transmission is much harder without close and lasting contact.
There are numerous subtypes of avian influenza viruses, but only some strains of five subtypes can cause diseases in humans. These types are H5N1, H7N3, H7N7, H7N9, and H9N2.
People who do not handle poultry directly have fewer chances of contacting Avian Flu. If the right precautions are taken, the chance of infection will be very low, even among farmers.
Wearing protective clothing when handling birds can help reduce the risk of infection. Clothing that cover the eyes, nose, mouth and hands from virus particles will be a major priority because these are the most common passageways for a flu virus to enter the human body.
All clothing or footwear should be disinfected after using them, practice good hygiene including the regular washing of hands to prevent the chances of cross-contamination and avoid direct contact with poultry.
People whose immunity might be compromised due to illnesses or any other causes should avoid contact with poultry to avoid contracting the disease.
Photo by dream designs. Published on 06 February 2012
Stock Photo – Image ID: 10071785