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Bird Flu: Fundamental Questions and Answers You Need To Know

Q – What is bird flu?

A – Bird flu is a flu virus infection that affects birds, especially migratory birds, ducks and chickens. Bird flu has been known to affect pigs and more recently humans. Although thought to affect all species, the virus does not adversely affect ducks. Ducks have developed antibodies against the virus and they only act as carriers of the disease without any symptoms of bird flu infection.

Migratory birds are carriers of the bird flu virus and do not show symptoms of bird flu infection. This makes them an important factor in the spread of disease. Other known diseases are transmitted only to one area or a few areas with a small radius. However, in the case of bird flu, the virus can spread over great distances – from one country to another – as migratory birds travel from continent to continent. Another factor that contributes to the spread of the disease is the export and import of infected birds to the international market.

Q – How is bird flu transmitted?

A – Bird flu is transmitted through direct contact with infected poultry, particularly through contact with infected skin, saliva, nasal secretions and feces. The virus is also spread through poultry feed, water and cages. When birds are crowded together, such as in poultry farms, the avian influenza virus spreads among them very quickly. Transmission of the virus from chickens to humans can occur through contact with equipment, vehicles, and clothing shed from infected poultry.

Resistant to bird flu virus. It can survive for at least three months at very low temperatures in contaminated manure. The virus can survive up to four days in hot water and up to 30 days in cold water. However, heat and disinfectants such as formalin and other iodine compounds are capable of killing the virus.

Q – Who is at risk?

A – Many people mistakenly believe that they can contract the bird flu virus by eating cooked chicken and eggs. However, chicken cooked for three hours at 56°C or half an hour at 60°C is safe. Humans can actually contract the virus through direct contact with the secretions and feces of infected poultry. Poultry farmers and those in the poultry and livestock industries are highly susceptible to contracting the virus. People who prepare chickens and eggs from infected chickens can also become infected if the virus is fresh enough to infect them.

Question – Is there a possibility of human-to-human transmission of the bird flu virus?

A – Fortunately, there are still no signs of human-to-human transmission of the bird flu virus. There have been cases of people contracting the virus and dying from it, but these people acquired the infection directly from the bird, not from another infected person. This needs to be emphasized because some people think that the disease can be transmitted from an infected person in the same way as the common flu.

To date, there is no evidence of human-to-human transmission of the bird flu virus. However, many scientists believe that human-to-human transmission of the bird flu virus is highly possible because the virus can mutate easily and is constantly evolving. Mutation of the virus can lead to human-to-human transmission, and scientists say this can happen in two ways. One, the virus enters the human body and mutates within the body, and two, the virus combines with human flu in humans or pigs, which are susceptible to both types of flu.

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