What We Should Know
Bird flu the Avian Influenza, the flu in birds. This disease is of major to humans, since there is no immunity to this flu. The virus which infects birds can alter to affect humans. This could begin a worldwide epidemic.
Dr. Webster, chairman of the virology molecular biology department at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, and an expert in the field of influenza states that health authorities globally need to keep watch for possible outbreaks of influenza. Even though swine flu is a lot less deadlier than persons had begun to fear. Dr. Webster states that bird flu stays as a likely threat and possibly could be the reason of the next worldwide epidemic.
The World Health Organization (WHO) as of last month has acknowledged that the H1N1(swine flu) epidemic is now over. This is after the reporting of 18,600 deaths globally. The cautions and recommendations that were issued by WHO had driven a great number of persons to believing that the world was in an epidemic which would cause millions of lives to be lost. A few distinguished medical journals along with some leading experts conveyed regard that public money in the billions of dollars range was wasted, with hardly anything accomplished except profits for the pharmaceutical industry.
According to Dr. Webster who is quoted as saying "We may think we can relax and influenza is no longer a problem. I want to assure you that that is not the case." He continues on to relay that the next outbreak could drive from birds (water fowl) which in turn would be transmitted to pigs and then from pigs to humans. The H5N1 had accomplished just that very thing. H5N1 is a flu virus in which 300 persons world wide have died to date.
Even though deaths from bird flu are decreasing within the past few years, they have increased in Egypt.
H5N1 is known to kill 61% of persons who become infected with the flu. The only positive side so far is the H5N1 flu cannot be transmitted from person to person. Dr. Webster does warn not to hold faith in that theory because it could just alter to have that ability. So there must be vigilance.
Bird Flu A(H5NI) status in Europe
Egypt's Ministry of Health has stated a new human case of A(H5N1) bird flu has been noted and confirmed. A Qaluibia governorate female who is thirty-three years old, on August 17th had developed symptoms and seven days later became hospitalized, where she did receive oseltamivir (medication) treatment. On August 26th the female had died.
Beginning examinations have shown that the patient was exposed to sick and dead poultry.
Confirmation of the woman having H5N1 was concluded by The Egyptian Public Health Laboratories and a National Influenza Center of the WHO Global Influenza Surveillance Network(GISN).
Meaning of Bird Flu
Bird flu is a diseased which is caused by viruses. It is labeled a contagious disease which infects only birds and occasionally pigs. This virus attacks certain species however, sometimes they have crossed over the barrier and have infected persons. This is very uncommon.
In concern of farm birds (poultry) there are two primary types of the bird flu, one is usually mild and the other is deadly for birds.
In this case low pathogenic forms of bird flu could cause a bird to have more feathers that are ruffled and lay less eggs. This type is not commonly noticed in farmed poultry. Due to the fact in a lot of the cases the bird that becomes infected simply gets well and no one notices.
In this case the high pathogenic form is greatly dangerous. It's mortality rate of around 100% spreads quickly within a flock of birds. A bird that becomes infected with a more lethal type of the flu.
The most dangerous strain is H5N1.
The very first bird flu to affect persons occurred in Hong Kong in 1977. Which happened during the bird flu epidemic on the island. That outbreak had been associated to chickens and categorized as a vain influenza A(H5N1).
Cases of H5N1 in persons have now been declared in Asia, Africa, the Pacific, Europe and the near East, Indonesia and Vietnam. About 400 persons have become sick with the virus. Slightly over 60% of persons who became ill had died.
The more the bird flu expands, the more of chance for a global outbreak to occur. There currently is enormous regard that H5N1 presents a massive epidemic threat.
Those persons who have a greater risks of getting the H5N1 are farmers and persons who work with poultry and persons who visit foreign countries where the flu is present. Also, those persons who consume undercooked poultry, eggs or blood from these birds are also at increased risk for the flu.
The bird flu has been witnessed to survive for enduring lengths of time. The infection can be spread just by touching any surfaces which have been contaminated. The birds who recover from this flu can still emit this virus through their feces and saliva for a period of ten days.
Symptoms of Bird Flu
The symptoms are dependent upon which type of strain of virus. The H5N1 in persons produce more usual symptoms that are flu like in content. These symptoms may include:
Fevers which are above 100.4 degrees
Chronic Respiratory Distress
Infection of the Blood
Identification through exam and tests
If you feel as if you could have been exposed, please notify your healthcare practitioner before your visit. This will enable the practitioner and their staff to take any necessary precautions that provide protection for themselves and other patients when you visit.
Test to verify this flu do exist but unfortunately are not vastly available at the present time. A test which does diagnose the strain type in persons who are thought of having the virus yield fundamental findings within four hours. The older tests had taken two to three days for results.
A practitioner may do the following types of testing:
Auscultation ( a test which notices irregular breath sounds)
Nasopharyngeal culture (test which identifies within the nasal secretions which cause disease)
White Blood Cell differential (identifies percents of white blood cells in the blood. It can also show abnormal or immature cells).
Other tests may include functioning of heart, kidneys and liver.
Due to the fact there are various strains of the bird flu that produce different symptoms, the treatments also vary.
The usual treatment is the anti-viral medication oseltamivir or zanamivir. It can help the disease become less severe provided the medication is taken within 48 hours of symptoms appearing. The virus that produces human bird flu seems to be immune to anti-viral medications amantadine and rimantadine. Therefore, these medications should not be administered if an outbreak does occur.
Persons who have severe infections are placed on breathing machines. Health experts that persons who are diagnosed with bird flu be quarantined. Health practitioners are advocating persons obtain a flu shot to lessen risk of the bird flu viruses blending with a human virus. If it does mix it would develop a new virus which could spread quickly.
Currently the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has authorized a vaccine to safe guard humans from the bird flu. Health experts report the vaccine may be used if the recent H5N1 virus starts to spread between person to person.
Possible Chinese Medicine Effectiveness
A Chinese medicine which had received approval from a Chinese state agency to be capable against SARS has been reported as a cure for H5N1 (bird flu). Lianhuachin, the Chinese medicine is claimed to effectively eliminate the virus that causes bird flu and also can be used to in curing the flu. This is said to be from the China's Ministry of Agriculture. The report had displayed that from 0.5 to 1 gram concentration level of the formula can eliminate H5 and H9 bird flu strains within a matter of only ten minutes, with a rate of 100% effectiveness.
This formula contains two Chinese medicines which are used for flu treatments, forsythia and lonicera.
The Lianhuachin formula is one of the very first Chinese medicines to have authorization for the SARS epidemic by the Chinese State Food and Drug Administration. It is said this formula is going to be distributed to the regions which are affected by the bird flu.
Vitamins and Substances
Immune system support by using Vitamin A and C along with Zinc. These help heighten the functioning of the immune system.
Researchers have indicated that aggressive strains of H5N1 in persons produce ten times more inflammation. To diminish this it is recommended to use antioxidants and other substances such as Vitamin A, C, Zinc,Beta Carotene and Alpha Lipoic Acid.
Please note that the trade associations of the dietary supplement industry, The American Herbal Products Association, Consumers Healthcare Products Association, the Council for Reasonable Nutrition and the National Nutritional Food's Association have issued a statement concerning dietary supplements.
"The dietary supplement industry is keenly aware of public concern regarding avian flu and of the desire of the public to protect itself against this recent health epidemic, which can cause serious illness and, ultimately, death. We do not believe any dietary supplements have been specifically shown to prevent or treat avian flu."
Common Sense Practice
Separate cooked meat from raw and do not use the same cutting board or knife for raw and cooked meat.
Do not handle raw or cooked foods without hand washing in between.
Do not place cooked meat on the same plate where it was placed when raw.
Completely cook all poultry. The virus of influenza is eliminated by heat of at least 158F.
Eggs shells should be washed before handling or cooking in soapy water. Wash hands afterward.
Do not use raw or soft boiled eggs that will not get cooked.
After the handling of raw poultry or eggs, wash hands, surfaces and utensils with soap and water.
At this current time the CDC has no recommendations for persons against traveling to countries that are affected with the bird flu.
Current information of the bird flu is available on the CDC website.