The bird flu virus is supposed to be really affecting the birds only. However, because of the nature of flu viruses that can be able to mutate and transfer from one species to the other. The bird flu virus that has been killing birds has now been affecting humans as well.
The good news is that bird flu virus has only killed few humans as of the moment. That’s why health officials are working overtime to prevent bird flu from becoming an outbreak. How the virus works on humans is still a complete wonder. There are still more and more studies undertaken to fully understand this virus.
What is known however is that there are 15 types of avian flu virus that affects birds. That’s why birds also have running noses as well, only theirs is a running beak (corny). The current outbreak of bird flu is caused by the H5N1 strain. This strain is very contagious and can cause rapid fatalities. This strain, unlike the others, can be transmitted to humans, which makes it deadlier.
Remember the SARS scare we experienced years back?. Compared to Bird Flu, SARS is just an ordinary cold. Their symptoms are similar but the virus that causes them is completely different. SARS is also less contagious because the person infected can just be isolated.
There could be low pathogenic virus or high pathogenic virus that can affect birds. The low pathogenic virus can affect birds in minor ways only. Ruffled feathers and reduced egg production are some. Highly pathogenic virus cause severe diseases such as respiratory diseases. In domestic birds, when the symptoms appear, they die the same day.
Other symptoms of the bird flu on birds are: loss of appetite, nervousness like chicken little, coughing, sneezing, diarrhea, and depression. Yes, birds do get depressed and they might end up being suicidal, drinking your Prozac.
Just as in the birds, the highly pathogenic forms are the ones that greatly affect the humans as well. These highly pathogenic forms are what cause deaths in humans as well.
The incubation period of the bird flu on humans is still not yet known clearly. The ill effects might develop one to five days from exposure to the virus.
Sometimes, the only indication that a person has been infected is an eye infection or conjunctivitis. However, having conjunctivitis, you might only think that it’s ordinary sore eyes.
Then other symptoms that are common to flu are also developed. That’s why it really is hard to know that the person has been affected by the virus. Other symptoms include, cough, fever, and sore throat.
It will then develop to life threatening complications that include viral pneumonia, and respiratory failure and distress.
That’s why health officials and scientist are scrambling for ways to just make ways to prevent outbreaks. Because they would not want a person to have misconceptions that he or she only has ordinary flu, but is the already life-threatening bird flu.