The avian bird flu is a virus that has caused growing concern for people everywhere, and many individuals are beginning to wonder whether or not the bird flu is something that should be taken far more seriously. But what exactly is the avian bird flu, and should you be afraid of contracting it?
The infection itself is caused by viruses that birds contract; in many cases, people who eat poultry will be affected to the bird flu, but some cases are a result of human to human contact. The viruses happen naturally in birds, much the same way that humans contract the common cold.
Most of the time, the birds who carry the virus do not get sick, since these birds are wild, but domesticated birds, such as chickens and turkeys can become very ill from the bird flu; the avian flu can sometimes kill these animals. Chicken and turkey, as well as duck, are among the poultry that is infected with the virus, and this is the way that the virus is passed on to humans.
These domesticated birds contract the flu when there is contact with a wild bird, or when a domesticated bird comes in contact with the saliva, feces, or nasal discharge of a wild bird. This causes great concern for humans, since any surfaces or materials that have been touched by a bird with the virus can contaminate both other birds and humans. In the past, it has been thought that bird flu only affected birds, but since 1997, several cases of humans becoming infected with avian flu have been reported, and some people have died from the virus.
However, the incidences of humans giving the avian flu to one another is fairly low, so paying special attention to the quality of poultry that is eaten is a very effective way to avoid contraction of the virus.
Facts about Bird Flu
Those who may work with birds that may be infected are at a greater risk for contracting bird flu, so it is important to keep hands clean, and to avoid contact with other people before sanitizing the hands first. Coughing or sneezing with the mouth covered can also reduce the possible spread of avian flu.
Eating at restaurants that do not receive high ratings for cleanliness can also increase the chances of contracting bird flu. Many times, these facilities do not conduct all the necessary tests and cleanliness procedures to ensure that the food is free of bacteria and viruses.
One of the best ways to ease your concern about the bird flu virus is to make sure that you visit your doctor at the first sign of flu symptoms, which could include coughing, fatigue, fever, or headache, or if you experience upper respiratory pain or congestion, or an eye infection.
These are some of the signs of bird flu exposure, and if you seek treatment early, you can receive medication that will remove the infection from the body. And, if you are preparing poultry yourself, be sure to clean it thoroughly, and to ask your local grocer about the condition of the poultry before you purchase it.