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Bird Flu: How Does It Spread To Humans? Know All About This Viral Disease

Bird flu symptoms: Inhumans, bird flu causes respiratory symptoms like cough, cold, fever and breathing difficulty: Dr Laxman Jessani.

Bird Flu: How Does It Spread To Humans? Know All About This Viral Disease

Bird flu symptoms and treatment: It can cause Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome in severe cases

HIGHLIGHTS

  1. Coming in close contact with an infected bird can make you catch bird flu
  2. In severe cases, the virus can cause Acute respiratory distress syndrome
  3. It can respiratory symptoms like cough, cold, breathing difficulty

Cases of bird flu among wild geese have been reported in Himachal Pradesh, ducks in Kerala and crows in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. As many as 1 lakh poultry birds have mysteriously diet in Haryana in the past few days. Also known as avian influenza, bird flu is an extremely viral disease caused by Influenza Type A viruses. They affect poultry birds like chicken and turkeys. Some strains of the virus are mild and may result in very low production of eggs and other mild symptoms. Other strains of the virus can cause more sever symptoms and can be lethal.

How does bird flu spread to humans?


Coming in close contact with an infected bird can make you catch bird flu. According to National Health Science, you can get infected with bird flu by touching an infected bird, touching the droppings or bedding of an infected bird, or by killing or preparing infected poultry for cooking. Other places where blood flu can spread are markets where live birds are sold. You can catch bird flu by eating fully-cooked poultry or eggs.

Also read: Bird Flu: Watch Out For These Signs And Symptoms Of Avian Influenza

Bird flu: Symptoms in humans and prevention tips

"In humans, bird flu causes respiratory symptoms like cough, cold, fever and breathing difficulty," says Dr Laxman Jessani, Consultant, Infectious Diseases, Apollo Hospitals, Navi Mumbai.

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Bird flu causes respiratory symptoms like cough and cold in humans
Photo Credit: iStock

"In severe cases, the virus can cause Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome and may even lead accumulation of fluids in the lungs. It can be fatal in these cases," he adds. However, the virus does not easily spread to humans. People coming in close contact infected birds, dead or alive, have contracted H5N1 bird flu.

The World Health Organization has mentioned that the virus does not usually spread from person to person. It added that there's no evidence that the disease can spread to people through properly prepared and cooked poultry food. This is because the virus is sensitive to heat and is likely to die in cooking temperatures.

"You can eat thoroughly cooked, boiled, roasted or baked meat. Avoid having it in the form used in salads," says Dr Jessani.

Other tips for prevention

  • Avoid travelling to the country where the outbreak is rampant
  • Practice hand hygiene. Wash your hands with warm soap and water, when handling food, especially raw poultry.
  • Use separate utensils for cooked and raw meat, recommends NHS.
  • Cook the meat thoroughly and avoid coming in contact with live birds and poultry
  • Avoid going to live animal markets or poultry farms
  • Avoid eating raw eggs, undercooked or raw poultry or duck

Also read: Flu Home Remedies: 7 Tried And Tested Tips For Quicker Recovery

Bird flu treatment

Dr Jessani says that Oseltamavir is a tablet, which is used for treament of H1N1 swine flu, may be helpful in offering relief from the symptoms, but further data is needed. "The disease can last anywhere from five to seven days. With the help of medicines and precautionary measures, the infection can easily be curbed at home. Also make sure you have got the flu vaccine," he says and adds that we need to know this better as there are not many cases of bird flu in humans.

(Dr Laxman Jessani, Consultant, Infectious Diseases, Apollo Hospitals, Navi Mumbai)


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Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.

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