Avian Influenza, also known as the Bird Flu, is an infection caused the family of flu viruses occurring naturally in birds. Wild birds worldwide carry bird flu viruses in their intestines, but they do not get sick from them. It is only domesticated birds that have little resistance to the bird flu. Chickens, ducks, and turkeys are especially at risk, and very likely to die once they have been infected.
Once birds are infected, they are capable of transmitting the virus through their secretions, such as their saliva, their mucus, and their feces. Once other birds come in contact with their secretions, they are likely to become infected. Surfaces may also carry the virus, such as dirt or water.
Avian Flu Symptoms in Humans
Humans are usually not at risk when it comes to Avian flu. After all, the only way the virus can spread to humans is when contact is made with infected secretions. A very small percentage of humanity has to do so. Cases of avian flu transmission from one human to another are very rare; and in no case has the transmission gone past one person.
In humans, Avian flu produces the same influenza symptoms that that is produced by typical human influenza. This includes body aches, dry cough, sore throat, coldness, fatigue, high fever, eye-irritation and infection, redness in the skin (especially the face area), a runny nose, nasal congestion, loss of smell, nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting. All of these symptoms can conspire to threaten the life of the avian flu patient.
While the symptoms displayed by avian flu infection may deceptively look the same, they are very different in their manner. Humans who have been infected with the avian flu are at a higher risk of dying than those with just the “regular” flu, in part because bird flu has shown itself to be resistant to some of the drugs currently used to treat influenza.
Avian Flu and Medicine
Current studies suggest that avian flu might be treated with some of the medicines that we use to treat the flu today. However, flu viruses have a way of becoming resistances against these drugs, so it is almost certain that new drugs will have to be developed to fight against future forms of the virus. At the moment, nothing is conclusive, and only time will tell if medicine can cope with the threat posed by the avian flu.
Looking to the Future
Because the virus is still changing, it is impossible to say exactly where the disease will lead. The Avian Flu can eventually become nothing more than a big scare, or it could also become the greatest trauma in recent global history. Of course, one can never be too prepared. Unless you dont value your life very much, it makes absolutely no sense to be ignorant of the threat posed by the avian flu. Whenever you can, take the time and get yourself informed. You never know, it might just save your life.