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Avian flu is also called avian influenza or bird flu. It is influenza that is caused by viruses that are adapted to different birds. Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) is the version of this virus that has the greatest concern. The viruses that cause avian flu have been confirmed in different countries since it emerged for the first time. For instance, in 2008 this flu was reported in the UK. However, the cases reported in the UK did not involve the H5 and H7 viruses which are the most dangerous stains of the flu.
Avian flu though infectious it has several strains that are harmless to humans. Nevertheless, despite the fact that the viruses do not infect people with ease, they are not transmitted from one human to another. However, several people in different parts of the world have been infected with this illness in different parts of the world and died from it.
Among the species of birds affected by the avian flu include turkeys, geese, ducks and chickens. This flue can be transmitted between wild, commercial and pet birds. When infected, birds do not get sick all the time. This implies that a bird may seem healthy even when infected with avian flu but pose a great risk to individuals who in any way get into contact with such birds.
There are various signs of avian flu in the infected persons. Just like with any flue, avian flu symptoms include high temperature, headache, aching muscles, and respiratory symptoms. Running nose and cough are common respiratory symptoms among individuals who have been infected with this flu. In some people, abdominal pain, vomiting, nose and gums bleeding, and diarrhea are early symptoms of the infections.
Fatal complications that may include acute respiratory distress syndrome can be reported within days. Failure of multiple organs can be reported after several days. Since avian flu has similar symptoms with common flu, detecting that one has it is extremely difficult unless for individuals who have been to places where an outbreak of avian flu has been reported.
Although avian flu is difficult to prevent because it can be transmitted by wild birds, there are measures that can be taken to reduce the risk especially if an outbreak has been reported. These include avoiding poultry farms and markets where birds are sold. You can also avoid contact with places where there are birds’ droppings and touching or picking alive or dead birds. Additionally, you can avoid eating birds and their products and practice good hygiene.
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