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The Facts About Bird Flu: Should You Be Concerned?


What do you really know about the bird flu? You may have heard snippets here and there regarding this deadly virus, but do you know the facts? While the bird flu is nothing to mess around with, it’s not nearly as scary when you know the truth. Have no fear, the facts are here. Let’s take a look . . .

What do you really know about the bird flu? You may have heard snippets here and there regarding this deadly virus, but do you know the facts? I have to admit, I didn’t know a whole lot, and that lack of knowledge made the possibility of getting the bird flu - or an “outbreak” or “epidemic” – seem much more likely than it actually is. Especially with all the media attention the past few years about the bird flu and its potential spread to humans.

While the bird flu is nothing to mess around with, it’s not nearly as scary when you know the truth. Have no fear, the facts are here. Let’s take a look . . .

Birds get the flu too!
Birds have been getting the flu as long as humans have, but the strain of flu birds pass to birds and humans pass to human were different and distinct until 1997, when the first case of a person infected with a bird flu virus was reported. Since then, cases have spread to other countries worldwide.

Strains of human flu are identified as types A, B, and C. The bird flu is known as type H. Because there is no cure or vaccine for bird flu, it often leads to severe and aggressive flu-like symptoms, viral pneumonia and multi-organ failure. Currently, more than half of the people reported to have been infected with bird flu died from the disease.

How is it spread?
Bird flu is spread to humans through contact with infected birds, through handling live birds or coming into contact with their waste or areas infected by their waste. Eating infected poultry that has not been cooked thoroughly can also spread the virus.

As of yet, the virus has not mutated enough to be spread from person to person. In the last worldwide outbreak, roughly 100 people were diagnosed.

Don’t panic just yet . . .
If you are worried about catching the bird flu, be aware that the condition is extremely rare. No cases have been reported in the United States – that’s right, none. If you are planning to travel to a foreign country where a bird flu outbreak has been reported, avoid contact with birds. If you do decide to eat poultry or eggs, make sure they have been cooked and handled properly. If you notice that raw and cooked ingredients are mixed together during meal preparation or you suspect that the food is being prepared in less than ideal sanitary conditions do not eat the food.

So now that you know the real truth, you can rest a little easier when it comes to the bird flu. Of course you should always be vigilant in protecting yourself against the possibility – but knowledge is power, and you’re already more powerful just from reading the above information!



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