Avian flu: symptoms, contagion and treatment (H5N8, H5N1)
Avian influenza is a disease caused by the influenza A virus of type H5N1, H5N8, H7N9, H10N3 or H9N2 and, more recently, H3N8. Avian flu is not spread from one person to another, being transmitted mainly through direct contact with contaminated birds or through consumption of their meat.
The symptoms of avian flu are very similar to those of the common flu, and can cause fever, sore throat, malaise, dry cough and catarrh. However, even though the symptoms are similar, the avian flu can evolve faster, increasing the risk of causing more serious complications, such as breathing difficulties, pneumonia or bleeding.
To prevent the appearance of the avian flu, it is necessary to take some measures, which include: cooking poultry meat well before eating and avoiding contact without protection with any type of bird, including palomas. In addition, it is important that the treatment begins as soon as possible, only if the first symptoms are present.
The first symptoms of avian flu are similar to those of common flu, which include:
High fever, above 38ºC;
Pain in the body;
Estornudos and nasal secretion;
In addition, there may be bleeding from the nose or from the nose. These symptoms only appear 2 to 8 days after contact or ingestion of meat from an infected bird.
The diagnosis of avian flu is only confirmed by the general physician through the performance of blood tests and swab nasal, which is the collection of secretions from the nose to confirm the type of virus that is causing the infection. This also helps to distinguish between avian flu and COVID-19, for example.
The transmission of the avian influenza virus to humans is rare, although it can happen through contact with feathers, if the urine of some type of bird is infected or even through inhalation of the octopus contained in small particles of animal secretions or eating contaminated poultry meat that can cause this type of flu.
In addition, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) birds affected by the new H10N3 avian influenza virus also release the virus through saliva or moco and can infect humans when the virus reaches the eyes, nose or mouth. However, the Beijing National Health Commission (NHC), in China, states that the spread of this virus on a large scale and the risk of epidemics are extremely low.
In addition, transmission from one person to another is not common, with few cases in this situation, however, this virus can undergo mutations and be transmitted from one person to another through contact with secretions or drops of estornudos and others.
To prevent avian flu, some measures are necessary, such as:
- Avoid direct contact with infected animals;
- Always use gum boots and gloves when treating birds, taking all the necessary hygiene care.
- Do not touch dead or sick birds;
- Do not come into contact with places known for wild birds;
- Eat well-cooked poultry meat;
- Wash your hands after handling raw poultry meat.
In case of suspicion that an animal is contaminated or if dead birds are found, contact the health surveillance for its analysis.
The treatment for avian flu must be indicated by a general practitioner and consists of the use of analgesic drugs to reduce pain, antipyretics to control the fever and in case of vomiting, medication for nausea or intravenous fluid can be recommended for hydration. Find more information about some medications indicated to treat nausea and vomiting.
In some cases, the doctor may prescribe antiviral drugs in the first 48 hours after the onset of symptoms, which can be oseltamivir and zanamivir, which serve to help the body fight the avian flu virus. Antibiotics are not indicated for this type of illness, because the avian flu is caused by a virus and not by bacteria.
Avian flu has a cure, although when it is transmitted to humans it causes serious cases that require rapid hospital care. For this reason, if you suspect that you have become infected with this disease, it is important that you go to the medical service as soon as possible.
After being infected by the bird flu virus, the person will probably develop the simplest form, like a common flu. However, complications such as respiratory difficulties or pneumonia can arise, for example. Know what are the symptoms of pneumonia.
People who can have major complications are children, elderly and people with the immune system weakened, because their body takes longer to react and fight the virus. In addition, in case of contagion, you must remain hospitalized to receive the most appropriate treatment in the hospital.
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