Bird Flu: Prevention and Symptoms

Having a headache, fever, cold, cough, body ache? Watch it? For sure you have Flu, but, what matters is what kind of influenza? You could have influenza caused by different variants of the influenza virus – The most virulent being the H5N1 type. If you have had any close contact with any poultry or wild birds or have eaten any bird without cooking above the mandatory 70 degrees Celsius, then there is a very high chance that you have bird flu. Remember that the bird flu symptoms do not differ much from those of the normal flu.

So do you panic and rush to the hospital? No, first visit your nearby doctor. Discuss the progress of your flu with him. Tell him why you have this apprehension. If he is not satisfied he is bound to refer you to dedicated “Bird Flu” quarantined wards of a nearby hospital with modern facilities.

You will be immediately put on the best drug for treating bird flu – Tamiflu. This wonder drug launched by Roche AG. It contains Oseltamivir, which effectively acts to keep in check the H5N1 strain of influenza virus. However is effective only if taken in the early stages of the deadly disease.

What can really provide lasting protection is a vaccine.

But do not fret; the bird flu vaccine is just months away from being launched in the market. Biopharmaceutical developer Vical Inc announced today that its bird flu vaccine offered protection against the bird flu in animal tests.

The company said mice and ferrets given its three-component flu vaccine survived lethal exposures to the H5N1 avian influenza virus, while animals not given the vaccine died.

The company is about to start human trials and is confident of success. But can a bird flu vaccine be of any benefit in the case of the influenza virus? Probably may not. Why? Because the influenza virus A is constantly mutating. A constantly mutating virus makes a vaccine ineffective. So can a vaccine be really the best method of bird flu prevention is truly debatable.

The best way to prevent avian influenza is to isolate those birds that are affected. Even cull those birds that are infected, so as to prevent any further spread of the illness. If there are any infected birds in an area, then that region needs to be quarantined. Just as the British went about Bird Flu prevention, when they discovered a dead swan in . But further investigations into the swan case has revealed a terrible truth – Bird Flu has been present in for almost a month.

The latest theory is that a free-range egg company, which kept 15,300 chickens outdoors on two farms, is now the likely source of the infection, probably after some contact with an infected wild bird.

More than 50,000 chickens have now been culled on Norfolk Road Farm and Mowles Manor Farm at North Tuddenham. Blood samples from birds on their farm showed that they had been exposed to the H7N3 virus as long ago as four weeks.

This company is less than half a mile from Banhams chicken breeding farm at Whitford Lodge, where 35,000 birds were culled last week after the low pathogenic avian flu strain was confirmed in the county. Birds on the free range unit, however, suffered only a mild form of the flu and none died from the infection.

It is still unclear how the virus was transported from the egg farm to the Banhams chicken farm, where it killed some 400 chickens and triggered a drop in egg production by other birds.

Such a reaction to avian flu is expected on intensive commercial units where there are large numbers of birds who live indoors at close quarters. State vets have been unable to find a link between the egg and the chicken farms. An infected wild bird or its faces on a worker’s foot, or vehicle are still thought to be the most likely routes for the infection.

Farmers around the country have also been reporting suspicious signs of sickness or a fall in egg production and the Veterinary Laboratory Agency, in Weybridge, Surrey, is testing numerous samples. So far, however, all tests have been negative.

has halted all trade in egg, chicken and breeding birds from , and Hong Kong has banned produce from Norfolk. Such bans are in breach of international law, however, and can be imposed only if a highly pathogenic bird flu strain is present. So far, government vets have found only the less virulent H7N3 strain.

International quarantine measures, such as restricting air travel from countries with a serious influenza outbreak, would do little to halt the spread of a bird flu pandemic, a study by British scientists has found.

A strain of flu that passed easily from person to person would move around the world more quickly than it could be detected, making airport closures largely ineffective, according to computer simulations by the Health Protection Agency. For restrictions on air travel from infected countries to delay a pandemic, it would be necessary for almost all travel to be stopped immediately as soon as the virus emerges, scientists found. The findings, published in the venerable Public Library of Science Medicine, suggest that the costs of restricting international air travel in a pandemic are likely to outweigh the benefits.

The best thing to do is stock pile Tamiflu. Most countries have brought huge quantities of Tamiflu. As a private citizen one also can buy Tamiflu online. In fact cheap Tamiflu is available at a few online pharmacies. Tamiflu is not only the best bet but also the last bet against Bird Flu.

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