These are the causes and preventions of bird flu

  • Jan 03 , 2017

Bird flu, also called avian influenza, is a viral infection that can also infect humans and other animals. Most forms of the virus are restricted to birds.

H5N1 is the most common form of bird flu. It’s deadly to birds, and can easily affect humans and other animals that come in contact with a carrier. According to the World Health Organisation, H5N1 was first discovered in humans in 1997 and has killed nearly 60 per cent of those infected.

Causes:

Although there are several types of bird flu, H5N1 was the first avian influenza virus to infect humans. The first infection occurred in Hong Kong in 1997. The outbreak was linked to handling infected poultry.

H5N1 occurs naturally in wild waterfowl, but it can spread easily to domestic poultry. The disease is transmitted to humans through contact with infected bird faeces, nasal secretions, or secretions from the mouth or eyes.

Consuming properly cooked poultry or eggs from infected birds does not transmit the bird flu, but eggs should never be served runny. Meat is considered safe if it has been cooked to an internal temperature of 165ºF.

Some people have caught H5N1 from cleaning or plucking infected birds. In China, there have been reports of infection via inhalation of aerosolized materials in live bird markets. It's also possible that some people were infected after swimming or bathing in water contaminated with the droppings of infected birds. And some infections have occurred in people who handle fighting cocks.

People don't catch the virus from eating fully cooked chicken or eggs.

There have been a few cases where one infected person caught the bird flu virus from another person -- but only after close personal contact. So far, there has been no sustained human-to-human spread of H5N1.

How to prevent bird flu:

All birds can't be killed, nor can bird migration be stopped. Therefore, humans have to be careful to prevent the flu. Here are a few tips:

Hygiene: regular hand wash with warm water and soap. Stay away from coughing and sneezing people. If you're dealing with poultry or pet birds, be extra careful.

Avoid meat: especially chicken, duck, turkey, etc. However, some reports say cooked poultry are safe to eat, as long as they are prepared properly.

Vaccination: although there aren't any vaccinations for the bird flu in particular, stay updated with other seasonal flu shots.

Dead birds: stay far, far away from those.