Bird Flu found in Palghar: How to prevent; common symptoms to watch out for
New Delhi, Feb 20: Avian influenza, commonly known as bird flu, was detected among birds at a poultry farm in Vasai-Virar region of Palghar district in Maharashtra, officials have confirmed. This came days after the district's neighbouring region Thane reported similar cases.
The virus generally occurs among wild aquatic birds and can infect domestic poultry, other birds, and animals. While it is important to take precautions to prevent spread of bird flu among humans, Avian Flu viruses do not usually infect human beings, and such an infection is rare.
Signs and symptoms in humans
Avian, swine and other zoonotic influenza infections in humans may cause disease ranging from mild upper respiratory infection (fever and cough) to rapid progression to severe pneumonia, acute respiratory distress syndrome, shock and even death. Gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea, vomiting and diarrhea has been reported more frequently in A(H5N1) infection. Conjunctivitis has also been reported in influenza A(H7). Disease features such as the incubation period, severity of symptoms and clinical outcome varies by the virus causing infection but mainly manifests with respiratory symptoms.
In many patients infected by A(H5) or A(H7N9) avian influenza viruses, the disease has an aggressive clinical course. Common initial symptoms are high fever (greater than or equal to 38°C) and cough followed by symptoms of lower respiratory tract involvement including dyspnoea or difficulty breathing. Upper respiratory tract symptoms such as sore throat or coryza are less common. Other symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain, bleeding from the nose or gums, encephalitis, and chest pain have also been reported in the clinical course of some patients. Complications of infection include severe pneumonia, hypoxemic respiratory failure, multi-organ dysfunction, septic shock, and secondary bacterial and fungal infections. The case fatality rate for A(H5) and A(H7N9) subtype virus infections among humans is much higher than that of seasonal influenza infections.
For human infections with avian influenza A(H7N7) and A(H9N2) viruses, disease is typically mild or subclinical. Only one fatal A(H7N7) human infection has been reported in the Netherlands so far. For human infections with swine influenza viruses, most cases have been mild with a few cases hospitalized and very few reports of deaths resulting from infection.
- Apart from antiviral treatment, the public health management includes personal protective measures like:
- Regular hand washing with proper drying of the hands
- Good respiratory hygiene - covering mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, using tissues and disposing of them correctly
- Early self-isolation of those feeling unwell, feverish and having other symptoms of influenza
- Avoiding close contact with sick people
- Avoiding touching one's eyes, nose or mouth