The respiratory system, including the nose, throat, and lungs, are infected by viruses that cause influenza, also known as ""the flu."" The influenza virus family is large. Some viruses solely affect humans, whereas others only affect pigs, birds, or dogs. Some can spread to multiple mammals (called """"cross species""""). This illness, also known as the ""bird flu,"" affects birds. There has been avian influenza for more than a century. When it killed many chickens in Italy in 1878, it was first described as the ""fowl plague."" Numerous species of birds may experience respiratory, gastrointestinal, reproductive, or neurological system complications from avian flu (or a combination of these). A decrease in egg production and a loss of appetite are the first symptoms of illness in chickens. The severity of avian flu symptoms can vary greatly, from a minor illness to a highly contagious condition with a fatality rate of up to 100%. Waterfowl (including ducks and geese) and some wild birds can harbor the virus without displaying symptoms of illness. The illness seems to have little effect on pigeons. Due to their high susceptibility to influenza infections, domestic chickens, which are easily transmitted to other chickens and swiftly escalate into epidemics (in poultry). NOTE: Visit OSH Answers Influenza for information on the human common flu.
How does bird flu spread among them?
The primary method of transmission of avian influenza is direct contact between sick and unaffected birds. Additionally, it can spread when birds come into touch with tools or supplies (such water and feed) that have been contaminated with excretions or secretions from diseased birds' mouths or noses. The virus can be carried by people and transferred from farm to farm by their clothing, boots, or vehicle wheels. Normally, wild birds may carry the virus without becoming ill. However, there have been a few unusual instances when wild flocks have become unwell or where migrating birds have infected nearby flocks of chicken while traveling through certain areas. Scientists are presently investigating the causes and mechanisms of this transformation. Consult the Canadian Food Inspection Agency's ""Protect your flock from bird flu"" document for more details on bird flu prevention.
Do all avian influenza viruses pose the same threat?
No. Low pathogenic and high pathogenic avian influenza viruses are two different types of avian influenza viruses. Low pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI) is a term used to describe a virus that only produces minor symptoms like as ruffled feathers and reduced egg output. High pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) is exceedingly contagious and causes serious illness. Up to 100% of a flock that has been infected by HPAI will perish.
What is the avian influenza virus?
Influenza Avian influenza is caused by a virus.
Does the influenza virus come in different varieties?
Yes. The influenza virus is a member of the orthomyxovirus family, which also includes the influenza viruses A, B, C, and D. The flu only comes from influenza A viruses in birds. Birds from all across the world, both domestic and wild, have been shown to carry influenza A viruses. The majority of viruses have been discovered in domestic and waterfowl birds, including ducks, geese, gulls, and terns (e.g., chickens, turkeys, ducks, geese, pheasants and quail). Avian influenza A viruses come in many different kinds or strains, although the majority of these strains in ducks and other birds do not result in any clinical signs. Additionally, humans, pigs, hogs, dogs, horses, seals, whales, and minks can all contract influenza A viruses. Pandemics can be brought on by novel influenza A viruses. Typically, influenza B viruses are exclusively found in humans. Although influenza type B viruses have not yet created pandemics, they can nonetheless generate human epidemics. Humans who contract influenza C viruses experience very minor symptoms and no outbreaks or pandemics. Pigs and dogs have also been reported to have influenza C viruses. The influenza D virus affects cattle but is not known to infect humans.
What do the terms ""H5N1"" and ""H7N9"" mean?
Influenza A virus is split into subtypes, and then into strains within each subtype. The letters H and N stand for the several protein subtypes that make up the influenza virus's outer surface. There are several different influenza subtypes. The haemagglutinin protein, also known as the HA protein, and the neuraminidase protein, sometimes known as the NA protein, are the two types of proteins that protrude from the surface of a virus. The immune system of the body is capable of producing antibodies that can identify these particular viral proteins, or antigens, and thwart that particular influenza virus. In numerous combinations, 18 different HA protein types and 11 different NA protein types have been identified in avian flu viruses. These combinations have been identified as influenza virus strains H(number) N. (number). H7N1, H9N2, H5N1, H7N9, etc. are a few examples.
Can humans contract avian influenza?
Typically, avian influenza viruses do not infect humans. Direct contact with diseased birds or contaminated surfaces is thought to be the main cause of infection in most human instances. The majority of human diseases to date have been traced to two lineages: H5N1 and H7N9. The subtype H5N1 of the avian influenza virus has been linked to some of the most severe illnesses and fatalities among people. Although this virus seldom infects humans, Health Canada notes that those who do can develop serious illnesses and perhaps pass away.
How does the avian flu infect people?
Even though it's uncommon, avian influenza in humans is primarily brought on by contact with infected chickens or other birds, high-avian influenza virus manure and litter, contaminated surfaces, contaminated equipment, vehicles, clothing, and footwear at farms where there are infected birds, as well as infected birds when they are being slaughtered and prepared for sale. It is difficult for the virus to transfer from people to birds or from one human to another. However, there have only been a few number of instances in which the avian virus has moved from one sick individual to another with little further spread.
What safety measures can chicken workers take?
Wear protective clothing when working with or coming into touch with poultry that may be infected with avian influenza. Face masks, glasses, gloves, and boots are some of the items worn with this outfit. Washing your hands, taking a shower, and washing all of your clothing are personal hygiene precautions to take if you come into touch with infected birds. Clean and sanitize your shoes.
What signs do humans show for avian flu?
The symptoms are similar to those of human influenza and can include fever, cough, aching muscles, sore throat, eye infections and serious respiratory infections including pneumonia. There is usually no vaccine against new strains of influenza. Some studies indicate that certain drugs that fight human influenza may help prevent serious illness among people infected with the avian influenza virus.
Can people get avian influenza from eating poultry infected with influenza?
No. Avian influenza is not spread by cooked food. There is no evidence to suggest that eating cooked poultry or eggs could transmit the virus to humans. While the World Health Organization recommends proper cooking as a good general practice, it is even more important in countries that have a current outbreak of avian influenza. The virus can be killed by heat so poultry should be cooked to an internal temperature of 75 °C (165 °F) to make sure they are safe to eat. Eggs should also be thoroughly cooked (no runny yolks). Food and kitchen hygiene are also important. Be sure that juices from raw poultry or poultry products do not touch or mix with other foods that will be eaten raw. Always wash your hands thoroughly and wash surfaces after touching poultry products. Cleaning with soap and water is appropriate.
Can the avian influenza turn into a human flu pandemic?
Traditionally, an influenza pandemic occurs when a new influenza A virus appears. As noted earlier, avian influenza does not spread easily or rapidly among humans. This characteristic does not lead to favourable conditions for a pandemic. Health officials monitor avian influenza outbreaks closely. For example, bird owners in Canada have a responsibility to report any bird diseases to their veterinarian and to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) Animal Health office.
What steps can I take to avoid getting the flu?
The most important step you can take to protect yourself and others from influenza is to get the flu shot and stay home if you are sick. You can also reduce the chance of infection by washing your hands regularly. Always wash regularly with soap and warm water. See the OSH Answers Hand Washing - Reducing the Risk of Common Infections for more details. Other steps you can take for personal hygiene are listed in Good Hygiene Practices - Reducing the Spread of Infections and Viruses."""