Bird flu in men

Bird flu, or scientifically known as avian influenza is found in all the species of birds. This virus naturally exists in many of the wild birds found. There is no such immediate connection between avian influenza and human beings. It rarely affects humans, but if it does, it can cause serious health problems and can even lead to death at times.

Avian influenza is increasingly getting worldwide attention as it had caused a high rate of mortality in the past.

Causes

This disease is transmitted in men through a virus. There are several subtypes of this virus which includes H7N7, H9N2 and H5N1. These virus subtypescan either be very contagious or mildly contagious. These viruses keep changing their genes through a process called as mutation which takes place through two methods:

  • An entire gene shifts from one subtype to another.
  • There can be a change within the subtype of an existing gene.

The ways though which bird flu spreads are as follows:

  • When the virus mutates in a particular way, humans, due to their lack of immunity to the virus, become extremely ill resulting in death in certain cases, if untreated
  • Transmission of the viruses due to consumption or working closely with birds like turkey, domestic chicken and geese.
  • Transmission of the virus from one human to the other, though researchers are trying to validate this factor.

Symptoms

The symptoms in men are typically similar to those of flu in adults. They are:

  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Aching muscles
  • Fever
  • Viral pneumonia
  • Respiratory distress
  • Mild eye infection

Diagnosis

After suspecting bird flu, the doctors will ask the patient to go through certain tests to identify the presence of flu virus. All the symptoms are closely observed and necessary medications and procedures are followed treat this disease.

Treatment

Though no vaccines available, as of yet, for protecting humans against this virus. However the followingmedications might be prescribed by the doctors to provide relief from this virus:

  • M2 inhibitors (such as rimantadine, amantadine)
  • Neuraminidase inhibitors (like zanamivir, oseltamivir)

Prevention

Steps taken to stop the spread of bird flu include:

  • Eradicating those birds which carry or are suspected of carrying the virus. It helps in quickly reducing the spread of the disease.
  • By disinfecting all clothing, farm equipment and boots. Rodents act as agents in relocating the virus from one place to the other. Therefore, disinfectants like iodine and formalin compounds help in removing the viruses.
  • Banning or limiting the shipment of birds from places which have recently had bird flu epidemics. One needs to quarantine farms to reduce the spread of the virus.

Steps to be taken to protect oneself from getting infected by bird flu:

  • Avoiding small farms where birds grow in large numbers.
  • Avoiding open air markets.
  • Avoid consuming raw eggs and food items with eggs (like ice cream, cakes, mayonnaise)
  • Getting a flu shot- though it won’t help in preventing avian influenza, it may be helpful in preventing few strains of the human influenza.
  • Using alcohol-based sanitizer to disinfect your hands frequently. They are better at killing viruses and bacteria in comparison to hand-washing.