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Bird Flu or Avian Influenza

Updated on May 25, 2009


Common Name

Avian Influenza, influenza Virus A Flu. type AFlu, Genus A Flu (Eng.)


Avian influenza is an infection caused by flu viruses occurring na­turally among birds.

Most cases of avian influenza in­fection in humans have resulted from contact with infected poultry (e.g., domesticated chicken, ducks, and turkeys) or surfaces contaminated with secretion excretions from infected birds.


Initial symptoms:

• High fever, usually with a tempe­rature higher than 38C

• Diarrhea

• Vomiting

• Abdominal pain

• Chest pain

• Bleeding from the nose and gums


The avian influenza virus subtypes that have been confirmed in humans, ordered by the number of known hu­man deaths, are: H1N1 (Spanish flu), H2N2 (Asian Flu), H3N2(Hong Kong Flu), H5N1 is the current pandemic threat.


• Cook all poultry and poultry pro­ducts (including eggs)thoroughly before eating.

• Raw poultry should be handled hygienically. All utensils and surfaces (including hands) that come in contact with raw poultry

should be cleaned carefully with water and soap immediately afterwards.

• Healthcare workers involved in the care of patients with documen ted or suspected avian influenza should be vaccinated with the most recent seasonal human influenza vaccine,

Common Used Medicines

The FUN, virus that has caused human illness and death in Asia is resi stant to amantadine and rimantadine, (wo antiviral medications commonly used for influenza. Oseltamavir (ano ther oass of antivirals) would pro bably work to treat influenza caused byH5N1, virus, but additional studies still need to be done to demonstrate its effectiveness.

• Oseltamivir blocks the action of the enzyme, neuraminidase which enables the influenza virus to spread from infected cells to healthy cells. On average, oselta mivir reduces the duration of symptoms by one and a half

if treatment is started within forty-] eight hours after symptoms begin. Side effects include: Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, bronchitis, abdominal pain, headache and dizziness. Experts recommend taking oseltamivir after help reduce nausea. There known interactions between oseltamivir and other drugs.

PRESCRIPTION DRUG Oseittiniivir: Tamiflu

Commonly Asked Questions

Q:How does H5N1 virus differ from

seasonal influenza viruses that infect humans'.'

A: Seasonal inflenza usually cau ses only mild respiratory symptoms in most people. Primary viral pneumonia and multi-organ failure have been common among people who have become ill with H5N1 influenza.


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