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Bird Flu

Bird Flu is also called Avian Flu (H5N1).  Bird Flu is an infectious viral disease of birds caused by avian influenza virus A (H5N1). It can rapidly spread among domestic poultry causing fatal disease. The infected birds shed virus in saliva, nasal secretions and faeces. Human infections are the result of handling live, sick or dead infected birds or due to contact with infected fluids. There is no evidence that the disease can spread to people through properly cooked food.

Causes of Bird Flu :

  • Touching infected birds that are dead or alive
  • Inhaling or being in contact with dried dust from the droppings or bedding of infected birds
  • Inhaling droplets sneezed by infected birds
  • people who work at poultries
  • using infected poultry for cooking
  • live markets where birds are sold

Symptoms of Bird Flu :

  • sudden high fever
  • cough, cold, headache
  • joint pains
  • tiredness
  • muscle pains
  • stomach pain or indigestion
  • sore throat
  • lung infections

Antiviral Medications for Bird Flu

Patients require hospitalization with intensive monitoring and treatment. oseltamivir (Tamiflu), an antiviral drug has shown to reduce viral replication and improve survival. The drug has to be started preferably in the first 48hrs after the onset of symptoms for the best response but can be given in delayed cases also. In severe cases, the dosage and duration of therapy are extended.

Precautions for Bird Flu :

Don’t come into contact with any of the following:

  • Infected domesticated birds, such as chickens, turkeys, or ducks.
  • Cages and food or water containers used by infected birds.
  • Dirt or bedding used by infected birds.
  • Visiting live animal markets and poultry farms.

Properly handled and cooked poultry and eggs cannot spread the virus.

  • Before and after handling raw poultry and eggs- wash your hands with warm water and soap.
  • Cook your eggs till whites and yolks are firm.
  • Clean cutting boards, tableware and all surfaces with soap and hot water to prevent contamination from raw poultry.
  • Cook Chicken or Poultry for more than 70C
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