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Get to know bird flu

Dr. Shalini Kapoor Kad
Nov. 16, 2010

A homoeopathic paediatrician, a counselling expert and a freelance writer are a few words to describe my profession. My sole aim is to put forth practical piece of information that guides every one right in the direction, blending the medicos to a layman with a simple gesture to make the medical things a little less convoluted and comprehendible.


Water birds form a reservoir for all kinds of influenza type A. This means that ducks and geese carry the infective viruses. They don’t always get sick, but the basic seeds for 15 kinds of flu are always out there.

Sometimes these flu strains mutate into more dangerous forms known as highly pathogenic avian influenza or HPAI. HPAI is extremely lethal to chickens. And it can be very dangerous to humans who catch the disease from domestic poultry.

How the humans get infected with bird flu?

Contact with bird droppings is the most likely way people catch bird flu. People don’t catch the virus from eating cooked chicken or eggs. Bird flu tends to be an intestinal disease spread through faeces. Human flu tends to be a respiratory disease spread by droplets. The only way a bird flu virus can spread easily from human to human is if the bird flu changes by picking up some genes form human flu virus.

How it presents?

The presentation varies every year with changing scenarios every now and then. But on a whole most people develop a basic outline of the symptoms with added varied. The stage begins with usual flu like symptoms that get worse to become a severe respiratory disease that turns fatal in quite a many cases. In case one gets exposed to an area with bird flu and presents no symptom then also a thorough examinations become inevitable. Studies must be done end to end to leave no loopholes what so ever.

What all complications can occur?

If a person gets infected with bird flu and human flu viruses at the same time, the human and the bird virus can swap genes and form a hybrid. If the new bug is lethal as bird flu and as catchy as human flu it would be bad news with may new complications to name.

Even if it’s a relatively mild new flu bug, it could rapidly spread across the globe that is because human would have no immunity to the new kind of flu and will surrender to the varied form. Though this may be a rare possibility but can't be sidelined completely.


The world health organisation is quite in motion in relevance to the topic of bird flu and is working constantly towards the above. Experts work hard to curtail odds in the best possible and quick way, with months of hard work and study doctors work to develop vaccines to keep masses away from the odd.       


Though nothing can be done before hand and a vaccine can only be prepared after studying the varied form of virus. Also preventive measures can be taken to avoid hazards. Lesser exposure and a safe environment free from any bird flu infected individual or article is the key to be safe.  Vaccine would be available after the outburst and for sure kids in an area with bird flu cases should be given the vaccine as soon as possible with all negative tests and assured negative diagnosis.


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