Archive for April 11th, 2012

How To Lower Your Risk Of Catching Flu (Including Bird Flu)

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012
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Influenza is in no way a new ailment to plague the people of the world. However, a new deadly strand of the virus has everyone running for cover. How do you avoid catching flu, including the dangerous bird flu that threatens so many? First, it should be explained that bird flu, also known as avian influenza, is a virus much like the regular flu we are accustomed to. It is transmitted in much the same way, through droplets of saliva and mucus. However, bird flu is currently only transmitted from infected birds to humans and can not be passed from human to human like the regular flu. The main concern arises with bird flu as it is expected to mutate and at some point be transmitted by humans as well. Until this takes place, bird flu is only passed from infected birds to humans by way of direct contact with the animal or its feces. The current outbreak of bird flu is taking place in Asia; therefore, there is little concern of catching the virus unless you are in that region and handling fowl. However, once the virus mutates it will be transmitted much like the standard flu and may be avoided in much the same way. The obvious first step in lowering your risk of catching the virus is being administered a vaccine. There is currently not a vaccine for the dangerous strand of influenza, but one is being developed. With any luck one will be produced prior to any widespread contamination of the virus. Another option is one utilized in most regular flu cases – taking antiviral medication, such as Tamiflu. These are expected to be effective on the dangerous strand of influenza as well as the regular flu virus. However, for this treatment to be useful, it must be administered early in the virus, typically within two days of showing symptoms. This and other drugs do not cure the virus, but instead lessen the effects of the symptoms. They may, however, prevent the virus from becoming severe. The most effective way to avoid catching the flu, the regular flu as well as the bird flu, is prevention. Proper hygiene reduces the risk of the spread of influenza. Simple things, like washing your hands and avoiding close contact with sick people, may be your best technique in lowering your risk of becoming infected. Utilizing hand sanitizer is also a useful option.

The West Nile Virus Mosquito

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

West Nile virus is a new member or «emergent» to the virus of the family. West Nile Virus is found in both tropical and temperate regions. Because of this it is a dangerous and world-wide killer. The Virus ainly infects birds, but also has the ability to affect humans, horses, and some other mammals. The Virus is spread by bites from infected mosquitoes. In the majority of cases, eight percent, people who are infected with the virus have none of the symptoms. In the other, approximately twenty percent, the virus causes mild symptoms which resemble those of the flu. These symptoms are known as West Nile. The virus is highly capable and able to pass through the blood-brain barrier. The most serious effects ofWest Nile Virusare encephalitis and meningitis. Both of these diseases can result in death. People that are over the age of fifty are at a greater risk of developing the severe disease. The symptoms of which include nausea, fever, stiff neck and changes in mental status. Symptoms to West Nile Virus will begin to develop three to fifteen days after the initial infection. Currently there is no known effective treatment to the virus. West Nile can be diagnosed by employing an ELISA test which will detect ‘IgM antibodies’ that develop as a result of the virus. The disease normally starts in an infected bird. A female mosquito will come and bite the infected birds who than carries the virus in her salivary glands. If she bites another bird they will become affected with the virus, and the diease continues to spread in that fashion.

H5N1 Bird Flu

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

Bird flu is the street name for the Influenza A virus, which is the virus that causes Avian flu. The name says it all, as Bird flu is a virus that is hosted by birds. With that said though it may infect several other species of mammals. First identified in Italy in around 1905 the virus is now known to exist worldwide. One strain of the H5N1 virus of avian influenza that first surfaced in 1997 has been identified as the most likely source of a future influenza pandemic around the world. Different strains of the virus may infect various type of animals. These animals include including birds, pigs, horses, seals, whales. It is even known that the virus could reach humans in mass. Avian influenza quickly spreads in the air and in manure. Contaminated feed, water, equipment and clothing can also increase transmission. There is no proof at the moment that the virus can survive in well cooked meat. The incubation period for Bird Flu is 3 to 5 days. Symptoms vary among animals. Virulent strains of the H5N1 virus can cause death within a few days. Humans are affected with similar symptoms as other types of flu. Symptoms such as: – Fever – Cough – Sore throat – Muscle aches – Conjunctivitis In extreme cases, severe breathing problems and pneumonia can result which can be fatal. The result and the extremity of the infection will depend on the state of the infected person’s immune system. Somtimes a victim will have been exposed to the strain before, and will be in part immune to the virus. It’s important to Note that victims will not experience the flu like symptoms all of the time. An example is a boy who experienced diarrhea and then rapidly went into a coma without developing the respiratory or flu-like symptoms. This situation suggests non-standard symptoms.