The Avian Flu

Kenneth Accos,1/11/2015

Names of the Avian flu

common names:Avian influenza, bird flu, fowl plague

scientific name:Orthomyxoviridae, Influenza Type A, subtype H5N1


Avian influenza (AI) is an infectious viral disease of birds .

Initial symptoms: include high fever,(cough or sore throat). Diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain, chest pain, and bleeding from the nose and gums.

Complications: Pneumonia, Respiratory failure, Shock, Altered mental state, Seizures, Failure of multiple organs (e.g. kidney failure),Death

The primary risk factor for human infection appears to be direct or indirect exposure to infected live or dead poultry or contaminated environments.

major change in the influenza A viruses is known as “antigenic shift.” Antigenic shift results when a new influenza A virus subtype to which most people have little or no immune protection infects humans. If this new influenza A virus causes illness in people and is transmitted easily from person to person in a sustained manner, an influenza pandemic can occur.


treatment with antiviral medication such as oseltamivir or zanamivir can help reduce the severity of the disease. However, the medication must be given within 48 hours after the first symptoms appear.

Currently, the best way to prevent infection with avian influenza A viruses is to avoid sources of exposure whenever possible.

Pandemic outbreaks/location

avian influenza A (H5N1) in Asia, Africa, the Pacific, Europe and the Near East. Indonesia and Vietnam have reported the highest number of H5N1 cases to date.

The A(H7N9) virus subtype, a low pathogenic AI virus, first infected 3 humans – 2 residents of the city of Shanghai and 1 resident of Anhui province .

While the H5N1 virus does not now infect people easily, infection in humans is very serious when it occurs.

Because H5N1 viruses have not infected many humans worldwide, there is little or no immune protection against them in the human population and an influenza pandemic (worldwide outbreak of disease) could begin.

Both H5N1 and H7N9 have pandemic potential with either mutation to a form more transmissible from person to person or recombination with a human influenza virus to a more transmissible form


The Spanish flu in 1918-1919

The Asian flu in 1957-1958

The Hong Kong flu in 1968-1969

The swine flu (H1N1) in 2009-2010.

Who/what will get infected by Avian Flu

In 1997, at least a few hundred people caught H5N1 in Hong Kong. Like the 1918 pandemic, most severe illness affected young adults.

Bird flu occurs naturally in wild waterfowl and can spread into domestic poultry, such as chickens, turkeys, ducks and geese.

People of all ages have contracted bird flu, though the average age of people affected seems to depend on the type of bird flu. Ex different strains of the flu ( H1N1, H5N1, H7N9 )

The A(H7N9) virus particularly affects people with underlying medical conditions.

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