Bird Flu

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  • Topic: Influenza, Avian influenza, Influenza pandemic
  • Pages : 4 (1467 words )
  • Download(s) : 51
  • Published : September 30, 2008
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Until very recently, media coverage in the United States of the Avian influenza or ‘bird flu’ virus that has already swept across China and the Far East has been relegated to no more than a few lines in the major newspapers and television programs.

However, as the threat of the virus entering the United States of America grows increasingly larger, many media outlets are stepping up their coverage, and attempting to educate US citizens of the dangers of the virus. While these efforts are to be largely applauded, it seems that many newspapers and networks are not providing enough real information for the public to make informed decisions, and are instead choosing to dramatize the movement of the virus across Europe and towards the United States.

Like humans, bird are susceptible to “flu”. There are 15 types of ‘Bird flu viruses’ that occur naturally among birds. Wild birds worldwide carry many viruses in their intestines, but usually do not get sick from them. However, strains such as H5, and H7 are extremely contagious among birds, and can kill domesticated birds such as chickens, ducks, and turkeys. The virulent form of the ‘bird flu’ virus that is grabbing the headlines, is known simply as H5N1.

Infected birds carry the “flu” virus in their saliva, nasal secretions, and excrement. Susceptible birds become infected when they have contact with contaminated secretions or excretions or with surfaces that are contaminated with secretions or excretions from infected birds. Migratory wildfowl, notably wild ducks, are natural carriers of the viruses, but are unlikely to actually develop an infection. Domesticated birds may become infected with the ‘bird flu’ virus through direct contact with infected wild birds or other infected poultry, or through contact with surfaces (such as dirt or cages) or materials (such as water or feed) that have been contaminated with the virus.

Humans can catch the disease through constant close contact with infected birds or...
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