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Bird Flu Virus Is Deadly

Aug 17, 2007
Influenza viruses are classified into the A, B and C types. A type viruses are the most dangerous and they may affect both people and numerous animals simultaneously whereas B and C type viruses typically affect humans only and they are the least severe amongst the three. Of these, A type viruses are further sub-categorized into subtypes such as the H and N strains. Is bird flu virus deadly?

One of most severe of A type influenza viruses is the much feared bird flu virus with the deadly H5N1 strain being the most widely known and notoriously dangerous.

The bird flu virus is very much like other subtypes of influenza viruses. However, the primary difference between the bird flu viruses and other types of influenza viruses is the way it is being transmitted. Other strains of influenza viruses that are common among humans are passed from one person to another through microscopic droplets of saliva or mucus in the atmosphere, via direct contact either with the infected person or through sneezing and coughing.

On the other hand, the H5N1 strain is not transmitted through human contact. Instead, improper handling or ingestion of infected poultry, through either regular direct contact with potentially dangerous poultry or their feces will increase the possibility of contracting the disease. Another common way is to consume infected animals that are not cooked fully or thoroughly.

The deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu virus was first identified in humans in 1997. Prior to this incident that happened in Hong Kong, there were no known cases of it infecting humans. Then, several major outbreaks occurred in 2004 and the following years whereby at least one hundred and fifty people died in neighboring Asian countries such as Cambodia, mainland China, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam and Thailand. The virus subsequently surfaced in other parts of Asia and Europe, including some Middle East countries.

It is also believed that this particular virus was not always a threat to humans. Since the identification of the virus first in the early nineteenth century, it has mutated with our influenza viruses and transformed into different forms. It is the ongoing vitality of such mutation that causes fear and concern surrounding the H5N1 strain. This is because the virus has been persistently manipulating itself to survive in varying environments and relentlessly bypassing treatment techniques.

The great devastation of the H5N1 strain can be rapidly identified when a person becomes infected with the deadly bird flu virus. The strain will cause an exaggerated response to his cytokines, which are small proteins produced throughout the body in response to an immune stimulus that regulate the entire immune system. This increase creates an imbalance and instability to the system and gives a negative effect to the body as it indirectly lowers its resistance to the virus. In addition, it slows down other aspects of the immune system thus giving the virus the liberty to create rampancy within the body.

In many other sicknesses, antibiotics are administered to suppress the immune system and fight the infection. However, antibiotics are ineffective in treating a person infected with the H5N1 strain, as the virus is not bacterial in nature.

Although measures had been taken to challenge the virus and lessen the impact it had on people as well as to refrain the virus from becoming severe, a vaccine has yet to be developed for the long anticipated mutated forms of bird flu viruses that may cause a potential global pandemic. Besides not having significant time for researches, a vaccine that is created now will not be of use when mutation occurs, as the nature of the future virus is not known.

As such, the most effective way to avoid contacting the bird flu virus is prevention. Proper and good hygiene habits reduce the risk of the spread of the deadly bird flu virus. These include simple practices such as washing your hands thoroughly before preparing food and taking meals, utilizing hand sanitizer as well as avoiding unnecessary direct contact with sick people, especially those with flu-like symptoms. Until a new vaccine has been discovered, this may be the best way to lower our risk of becoming the next victims.
About the Author
Article by Ske Chay of http://www.mccbirds.com
Providing useful information on bird flu virus at http://www.mccbirds.com/birdfluvirus
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