Consumer Info: Bird Flu, from Causes to Prevention

UPDATE (As of 2017 August 24): Pag-disinfect sa mga lugar na may Bird Flu, naantala.

The deadly Bird Flu has become one of the most dangerous diseases in the world; yet did you know that this H5N1 strain has already killed 60% of the people who have been infected with the disease since it first appeared in 1997?

This viral infection which first appeared in HK in fact spreads from bird to bird and does not easily spread from person to person rather it does so from infected birds to humans. And as of 2011, bird flu which has been established in China, India, Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia and Vietnam would be difficult to eradicate mainly because it has spread from birds to pigs and even donkeys.

CAUSES 

Humans could catch Bird Flu through:

  1. Close contact with infected birds or bird droppings.
  2. Cleaning or plucking infected birds.
  3. Inhalation of aerosolized materials in live bird markets.
  4. Swimming or bathing in water contaminated with droppings of infected birds.
  5. Handling of fighting cocks.
  6. Infected birds’ saliva, discharges like faeces and urine, as well as feed and secretions from the nose, mouth or eyes especially from hens, geese, turkeys and ducks.
  7. Exceptionally close contact with infected people.

NOTE: Eating meat and eggs from infected birds is not dangerous provided that it’s well-cooked as the heat kills most of its harmful agents. 

RISKS

  • Highest possibility of infection comes from poultry farm workers, animal control workers, wildlife biologists, and ornithologists who handle birds.

SYMPTOMS

  • Cough, diarrhea, respiratory difficulties, fever (over 100.4 °F), headache, muscle pain or weakness, malaise, runny nose, sore throat, colds, headache, swollen neck, dehydration, nausea, abdominal pain, vomiting, eye infection, lung congestion, pneumonia, could infect the brain and digestive track.

TREATMENT 

  • Antiviral drugs like Oseltamivir (Tamiflu), Zanamivir (Relenza) or Peramivir (Rapivab) can help reduce severity of the disease as it prevents the virus from growing. These should be given soon after diagnosis have been verified.

NOTE: If bird flu is not immediately treated, this could lead to complications like pneumonia, respiratory or kidney failure, and some cardiovascular problems.

BASIC HOME REMEDIES 

  1. Drink Green Tea. It helps inhibit the release of an enzyme known as neuraminidase in bird flu and so it controls the growth and reproduction of it. Take 6-7 cups daily.
  2. Strengthen your Immune System. Take vitamin C or even add lemon juice to your green tea. Citrus fruits and juices are good in boosting immunity. Eat fresh veggies and salads, too.
  3. Do Steam Inhalation. This is to ease mucous accumulation and liquidate secretions for it to easily come out of your nose. Steam inhalation plus a few drops of tea tree oil could serve as an expectorant.
  4. Stay Hydrated. Especially for those who are vomiting or has diarrhea, drink at least 10 glasses of water a day — include servings of warm soups as well.
  5. Consume Garlic. With its powerful antibacterial and antiviral properties, this is one of the best home remedies for bird flu. Eat at least 2 cloves of raw garlic 2 times a day.

PREVENTION 

Aside from having a healthy diet with lots of liquid on your part, we would say “regularly monitoring and understanding your fowls’ condition” is the best preventive measure against the spread of this disease. In short, just stop this Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) right from the roots.

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