Swine Flu – Just Like any other Flu

swinefluAs said and debated, the new flu strain is quite similar to most strains of the famed flu virus that is spread from person to person right after it jumps species from the zero host animal, first we had avian flu then swine, both of which jumped the species barrier which normally prevented cross species jumps. This trait of the new strains alarmed scientists for never in history has such cases occurred in modern times.
The Avian Flu is almost on the treatable stage but with the coming of the new strain, a more general vaccine may be needed to handle all of the flu strains, for the new strain is a combination of H5N1, H1N1 and the human flu virus which has the ability to mutate. Another alarming trait of the virus is that a case of reverse infection has already been found in New Zealand, a case of a human host getting a swine sick with the flu. The cross contamination of the virus is the bad thing. Flu can be weathered out with proper treatment and monitoring but for a strain that can come and go as it pleases, it truly is an alarming development.


Same Precautions – Totally New Strain

thermalWith the convenience of modern travel, planes flying off to distant countries in a few hours, the new scourge of flu more commonly referred to as the “Swine Flu” has reached full spread with cases reported in almost all corners of the world. Mexico is ground zero and from its famous beaches, whole flights have been infected taking the virus all over the globe. From New Zealand, Australia, China and many other continents the virus has spread with some deaths reported. The severity of the cases have been quite blown out of proportion, maybe a result of the H5N1 strain which scared the hell out of everyone but as with any flu strain simple precautions go along way to help protect people from the spread of the disease.

Infectivity of H5N1

H5N1 is easily transmissible between birds facilitating a potential global spread of H5N1. While H5N1 undergoes mutation and reassortment, creating variations which can infect species not previously known to carry the virus, not all of these variant forms can infect humans. H5N1 as an avian virus preferentially binds to a type of galactose receptors that populate the avian respiratory tract from the nose to the lungs and are virtually absent in humans, occurring only in and around the alveoli, structures deep in the lungs where oxygen is passed to the blood. Therefore, the virus is not easily expelled by coughing and sneezing, the usual route of transmission.[19


Macaws and Bird Flu

medium_2689857765Whenever we think of pirates, a number of us will think of parrots too, and when we think of parrots, most of us will think of those parrots with long tail feathers, large beaks, and brightly-colored feathers in all the primary colors. Chances are you’re probably thinking of a macaw.

Macaws are grand, beautiful birds, and are mostly endemic to South America and the Carribean areas. These creatures have personalities as unique as the prints on their faces, and it may take some time before it will recognize you as its owner. However, with time, patience, and a little bit of kindness, these beautiful beasts may come to trust you implicitly.

However, are macaws as susceptible to bird flu as chickens? General veterinarian consensus says nay, but it is still best to be careful when shopping around for a pet macaw. If you notice your buyer has also been raising chickens, it is more than reasonable to take caution. Ask for some history of the bird, where it came from, how old is it, and so on. Do not hesitate to ask for a medical write-up; if the seller refuses to give you one, walk away. Once you do receive what you have required of your seller, it is best to next ask him or her which avian veterinarian he or she recommends.

photo credit: Tambako the Jaguar via photopin cc

Avian Flu in an Airport: A Potential Disaster

It’s official – airports are one of the dirtiest places to be in. Even the JFK airport has been singled out to be the Number One dirtiest airport on the planet. It might be a prudent thing to start being more mindful of where you place your food, where you take a loo break, or even where you sneeze.

Airports aren’t just a cradle of filth – think about all the germs and contagious diseases that could be lurking on every bench seat, pen, or corner! As if that wasn’t enough, think of all the different passengers hustling and bustling on tarmac and lobby. Chances are, you might be rubbing shoulder with someone who might be having the chills. Is that person breaking out into sweat? Coughing violently? Turning a nasty shade of red, or breaking out into hives? Are you breaking out your alcohol or hand-sanitizers yet?

Crowded rooms, weak immune systems, and bad sneezing manners – this is how bird flu spreads. What are you going to do, stay at home, and never use the airport? Of course not! The best way to manage this dicey situation is to keep healthy, practice thorough hand-washing, and keep a hanky on your person at all times.

photo credit: cafemama via photopin cc

H5N1 Combined with H1N1 New Pandemic?

h1n1swinefluThe scare brought about by the new and rising threat from the new and improved H1N1 Swine Flu Virus has scientists clamoring for an immediate cure with the H5N1 still fresh on their minds. The H1N1 strain is still part of the flu family but with a very dangerous twist, it is a combination of the H1N1(swine), H5N1(Avian) and the Human Flu virus that like the other strains is transmittable and can be transmitted from species to species. From animal species it jumps easily to humans and that cross-species jumping trait is a very dangerous combination.

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