Avian influenza, more commonly referred to as bird flu, is a virus that typically affects birds including ducks, chickens and turkeys. Though the virus is not common in humans, there are reported cases of it that have occurred since 1997. This generally happens when a human has been exposed to poultry that has been infected.
Prevention is typically done by killing entire flocks of birds that may have been exposed to the disease. If a bird is exposed, it will likely spread throughout the rest of the flock. Unfortunately, the best way to prevent this is to kill them. It is also not recommended to keep such animals in uncontrolled domestic situations. Leave the raising of these animals to the people who are well equipped to do so and who have the equipment to test for and control the environment. It is not recommended that these birds be used as pets.
Proper sanitation is also important. Keeping clean and washing your hands often especially if exposed to birds, is essential in keeping healthy. If you work around these animals, use respirators to block the spreading of the germs. Wash your hands often with antibacterial soap and avoid contact with others until you have done so. If you start having flu like symptoms get treatment from a physician as soon as possible.
If an epidemic breaks out, you should be prepared to isolate yourself as much as possible. You will need food and water stores and things to occupy yourself with in case you have to stay home for long periods of time. Make sure you have basic supplies that are needed every day such as toothpaste, toilet paper and other supplies. Ensure you have plenty of food items since you want to limit your time with other people at stores to the minimum. Preparation and prevention are keys to ensuring this disease does not reach large proportions.
Creating a good bird flu vaccine is proving to be a lot harder than researchers thought it was going to be due to how much this bird flu changes. It is always changing and developing in more ways and this makes it hard to make one bird flu vaccine that will work all of the time. The scientist working on the bird flu vaccine are monitoring the bird flu very well to watch for any significant changes that will affect the usability of the bird flu vaccine. All of the data that they collect can be used to make the bird flu vaccine more and more effective.