Archive for April, 2008
Any variation of the flu virus can infect an organism by entering the body through openings such as the eyes, nose, mouth, the sexual organs, and cuts or bruises. The virus can be passed on from hand to object, object to hand, hand to eyes, and so on. It may also spread through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. In the case of bird flu, particles of the bird’s feces and other excretions may be blown in the air and infect humans when inhaled.
Precautionary measures to avoid infection are to wash the hands regularly, or use hand sanitizers and alcohol-based wet tissues, avoid crowded places, avoid eating food you (or a trusted person) did not prepare.
According to statistics, mortality rate of a person infected with bird flu is extremely high, compared to those who were infected with the Spanish flu. The virus strain (its DNA characteristics) evolve as it is passed from birds to humans, and human to human. There is a possibility that the mutated virus is more infectious. While vaccines are being developed by scientists in different countries, the World Health Organization stated in its website that if a pandemic occurs, the need for more vaccines might not be met.
In the case of SARS, individuals infected with the disease were isolated and an outbreak did not occur. But with bird flu, isolating infected migratory birds is not possible.
Almost a century has passed, and with development of new technologies, one may think that an outbreak will not happen. However, influenza has evolved and has lots of variations. The Spanish flu actually evolved from a bird flu virus type H1N1. The bird flu, type H5N1, is now the most threatening of the flu viruses, since it has spread around the world through migratory birds, then from birds to humans. Scientists fear that once human to human infection occurs, it might become a pandemic, unless vaccines and other measures are developed and implemented – not just by health providers, but governments as well.