People are confused regarding avian influenza also called Bird Flu, they have mistaken this to the swine flu and in the pandemic of swine flu I encounter lots of questions both in my outpatient Department and also in quora where I answer a lot of questions regarding health.
Does swine flu spread by chicken I am rearing at home
Does swine flu spread through chicken I eat
and many more
the answers for the questions is a big no!!!!
Today I am writing about the Avian influenza which is caused by a different virus which has familial relationship with the swine flu virus. Even though the clinical features of both the diseases are same, swine flu is not Bird Flu or vice-versa.I will be writing
what bird flu is ,
how does it spread and
for details on swine flu please refer my earlier blogs
Here are the important facts on Bird Flu and I will elaborate it one by one later
1. Avian Influenza is caused by virus, it is an infectious disease of birds
2. Most of the Avian influenza do not cause disease in humans. few like influenza A H5N1 and influenza H7N9 have caused serious life threatening infections in people
3. Any outbreak of bird flu is cause for concern because of its effect on poultry farming, potential to spread to humans and to cause large outbreaks in humans ( Pandemic)
4.Majority of human cases are due to direct or indirect contact with infected live/dead poultry
5. Infection doesnot spread to people through properly cooked chicken meat and eggs
explanations to all the above facts
Avian Influenza is an infectious viral disease in birds especially the wild fowl(goose and ducks) and often do not cause any apparent signs of illness. These may spread to domestic poultry and cause large scale serious outbreaks. Occasionally they may cross species barrier and cause subclinical / serious infections in mammals and humans.
H7N9 first infected 3 Humans in China in March 2013, no cases are reported outside China.
Ongoing circulation of H5N1 and H7N9 viruses in poultry where it is endemic cause serious threat for public health as they are like mine bombs with potential to cause serious disease in Humans.
How do the present when infected?
Mortality (death rate) with H5N1 & H7N9 is much high compared to seasonal Flu
In patients , disease caused by H5N1 follows an aggressive course---- Rapid deterioration and death.
It takes about 2-8 days before patient develops symptoms( Incubation period) after infection and it can take upto 17 days.and for H7N9 it is 2-8 days
The symptoms are
High grade fever > 38*c
bleeding from Nose and Gums
Most important thing seen with bird flu is involvement of lungs in early stages of disease causing respiratory distress( difficulty), Hoarse voice, bloody sputum
The disease can cause complications even if the patient survives early stages of disease like
Decreased blood oxygen levels ( hypoxemia)
Multi Organ Failure
Secondary Bacterial pneumonia and fungal pneumonia
oseltamivir ( starflu) has to be started early in the course of disease i.e within 48 hours of symptoms to prevent the spread of virus from one cell to another.
AVIAN FLU or BIRD FLU is not SWINE FLU!!!!!! read my other blogs for information on swine flu..
I have tried to put everything in simple words , if there are an doubts please ask in the comments section
You can also suggest any topic which you want to know so that I will write it in my next blog.