H5N1 bird flu spreads to humans, raises alarm! Know everything about the infection

Reports of H5N1 bird flu infected a human has caused panic among people. Here’s everything you need to know about the infections and what you can do to avoid it.

An outbreak of H5N1 bird flu has now spread to cattle and a person in the United States, suggest reports. This has led to a rise in concerns and panic when an expert expressed that the infection might be “100 times worse than the COVID pandemic.” With cases of avian influenza on the rise, experts are asking people to be vigilant, exercise caution and take swift action to contain the spread of the potentially deadly virus.

The US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a warning asking doctors to be on the lookout for bird flu infections in dairy workers, reported the UK tabloid Daily Mail. Here’s everything you need to know about H5N1 bird flu outbreak and how you can protect yourself from an infection.

Chicken and eggs
Avian influenza can spread to humans. Image courtesy: Freepik

What is H5N1 bird flu?

Bird flu or avian influenza is a type of viral infection that infects birds but it can also jump onto humans as well. H5N1 is the most common form of bird flu that affects people. It was first discovered in humans in 1997 during a poultry outbreak in Hong Kong, as per the data by CDC. It has also been reported that a total of 887 cases of H5N1 cases have been registered between 2003 and 2004, of which 462 people lost their lives.

What are the signs and symptoms of H5N1 bird flu?

H5N1 manifests itself in several ways, and it may resemble symptoms of a typical flu. Here are the symptoms of H5N1 bird flu, as per medical reports.

  • headache
  • eye redness or conjunctivitis
  • cough
  • runny or stuffy nose
  • muscle ache
  • headaches
  • shortness of breath
  • breathing difficulties
  • diarrhoea
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • seizures
  • pneumonia

Severe cases of avian influenza can lead to complications such as respiratory failure and even death. So, consult your doctor to avoid complications If you notice any of these signs.

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How is H5N1 bird flu treated?

After doing a thorough test called influenza A/H5 (Asian lineage) virus real-time RT-PCR primer and probe set, the doctor will determine the course of action. The treatment will depend on the diagnosis of the problem. In most cases, treatment with antiviral medication such as oseltamivir and zanamivir may help reduce the severity of the disease. However, you must take the medication after 48 hours of experiencing the symptoms.

Also Read: Influenza in children: Follow these precautionary tips to protect your child

Avian influenza can be prevented if proper precautions are taken. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

How to avoid the risk?

Here are some ways that can help you avoid the risk of developing an infection:

1. Avoid close contact with birds, especially poultry to avoid getting infected.
2. Ensure all poultry products, including eggs are properly cooked before consumption.
3. Wash your hands with soap and water thoroughly to maintain proper hygiene.
4. Refrain from consuming raw or undercooked poultry.
5. If you live anywhere near birds, make sure you are regularly cleaning and disinfecting surfaces that come in contact with birds.
6. Stay updated on the latest developments/news about avian influenza.
7. If you notice any sick or dead birds around you, report them to local authorities to help prevent the spread of the virus.
8. Get vaccinated to avoid the spread of H5N1 bird flu.

As H5N1 bird flu spreads, it is important to be vigilant and take proper precautions to avoid complications. Also, make sure you visit a doctor in case you notice any symptoms.

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About the Author

Arushi Bidhuri is a journalist with 7 years of experience in writing, editing, and conceptualizing story ideas across different genres, including health and wellness, lifestyle, politics, beauty, fashion, and more. Arushi has a strong connection in the industry that helps her write concise and original stories as she believes in working towards writing pieces that can enlighten people. Read More