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Is It True That The Avian Influenza Outbreak Is A Health Concern?

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Avian Influenza
Is the current avian influenza outbreak a concern to human health?

What is Avian Influenza, or Influenza A?

(CTN News) – The avian influenza virus, also known as bird flu, causes infection in birds and other animals.

Hemagglutinin (H) and neuraminidase (N) are glycoproteins found in influenza A virus, which is an orthomyxovirus.

Hemagglutinin binds to infected cells by clumping red blood cells together, while neuraminidase promotes the movement of the virus through host cells and aids its reproduction.

Humans can get Avian influenza / bird flu from birds?

One of the subtypes of the influenza A virus is strain H5N1, which has caused major outbreaks in humans, including the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic, the 1977 Russian flu pandemic, and the 2009 swine flu pandemic.

As described in the research article, An overview of the epidemiology of avian influenza, written by Dennis J. Alexander, only viruses from the genus have been isolated from birds and referred to as avian influenza (AI) viruses. However, in the majority of possible combinations, viruses with all 16 haemagglutinin and all 9 neuraminidase influenza A subtypes have been isolated from avian species.

Symptoms, types, and mortality rates of Avian Influenza:

Among influenza A virus strains, only H5 and H7 subtypes are highly virulent.

HPAI is caused by these subtypes, which can cause flock mortality of up to 100%, but not all H5 and H7 viruses are responsible for HPAI,” Alexander’s research paper states.

Can you tell me when the Avian influenza outbreak began?

“In 1878, in Italy, AI caused high mortality in chickens due to its highly pathogenic nature, but the first confirmed HPAI outbreak occurred in Scotland in 1959, according to Blanca Lupiani’s research work. Since then, 28 outbreaks have occurred worldwide..”

It is first identified in a domestic goose in Guangdong province, China in 1996 by the influenza A strain H5N1 virus, abbreviated as HPAI A(H5N1). Several outbreaks have been reported in poultry, wild birds, and humans worldwide, according to a study by multiple experts titled Global epidemiology of avian influenza A H5N1 virus infection in humans, 1997-2015.

Bird flu symptoms:

Conjunctivitis (redness in the eyes), difficulty breathing, flu, and fever are typical symptoms of Avian influenza or bird flu.

In regards to the H5N1 strain, David S-C. According to Huang in Review of clinical symptoms and spectrum in influenza A/H5N1 infection, the clinical spectrum ranges from mild influenza-like illness (fever, cough, sore throat, and myalgia) to severe pneumonia, ARDS, and MODS.

Researchers John Beigel and Mike Bray wrote, “Most H5N1 patients present with fever, cough and shortness of breath, which progress rapidly to adult respiratory distress syndrome.”

Treating Avian Influenza:

An anti-viral medication prescribed by a general practitioner can treat symptoms of avian influenza. Hence, it lowers the severity of sickness and death risk.

Beigel and Bray write in their article that anti-influenza virus antibodies may have a beneficial effect in severe influenza by preventing virus binding to target cells.


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Salman Ahmad is a seasoned writer for CTN News, bringing a wealth of experience and expertise to the platform. With a knack for concise yet impactful storytelling, he crafts articles that captivate readers and provide valuable insights. Ahmad's writing style strikes a balance between casual and professional, making complex topics accessible without compromising depth.

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