Thursday, January 24, 2008

Bird Flu - Avian Influenza

Bird Flu - Avian Influenza

  • Avian Influenza (AI) or bird flu is a type of contagious disease infecting poultry and birds.
  • Influenza virus type A causes Avian Influenza. This virus has many subtypes. The H5N1 virus, which is the cause of the current outbreaks reported, can lead to high death rates among birds.
  • Migratory waterfowls are the natural reservoir of this virus.
  • Normally, this disease does not infect humans, but recent developments show that humans too can be infected if exposed to sick birds.

How This Disease Spreads

a) From birds to birds
This disease spreads among birds through droplets from the nose, saliva and droppings. This virus can survive in bird droppings up till 30 days.

b) From birds to humans
Humans can be infected through:

  • Direct contact with sick poultry, birds and their produce.
  • Droppings of sick birds.
  • Water contaminated with the droppings of sick birds.
  • Object sutch as containers, cages and clothes contaminated with the droppings of sick birds.

3. Signs and Symptomps
Signs & Symptoms of the Avian Influenza are:
  • High fever exceeding 38C
  • Sore throat
  • Cough
  • Headache
  • Muscle pains
  • Joint pains
  • Fatigue

Complications of the infection can lead to pneumonia and death.

4. Groups at Risk
a) Farm workers
Those working on animal farms (poultry/birds) that may be infected.

b) poultry and bird traders
Poultry and bird sellers who handle eggs, storage containers and objects contaminated with bird droppings.

c) veterinary/health workers
Those involved in culling of sick birds.

5. Ways to Protect Yourself
  • Always engage in good animal husbandry practices such as wearing a mask to cover your nose and mouth, gloves and apron and boots.
  • Wash your hands with soap and clean water regularly.
  • Ensure youo only choose healthy meat and poultry products.
  • Obey all directions and regulations released by the government.