Avian Influenza, also called bird flu, is a viral infection that can also infect humans and other animals. Most forms of the virus are restricted to birds. H5N1 is the most common form of bird flu. It’s deadly to birds, and can easily affect humans and other animals that come in contact with a carrier. According to the World Health Organization, H5N1 was first discovered in humans in 1997, and has killed nearly 60 percent of those infected.
Causes and Treatment
H5N1 occurs naturally in wild waterfowl, but it can spread easily to domestic poultry. The disease is transmitted to humans through contact with infected bird feces, nasal secretions, or secretions from the mouth or eyes. In most cases, treatment with antiviral medication such as oseltamivir (Tamiflu) or zanamivir (Relenza) can help reduce the severity of the disease.
An outbreak of the H5N1 virus seriously disrupted the functioning of the poultry industry, negatively affecting the people living in the area as the poultry industry was their main source of income at the time. Soon after the presence of the virus was confirmed culling operations began. 253000 birds and 587000 eggs were destroyed within 5 days. Villagers who were exhibiting flu-like symptoms were quarantined and kept under observation.