Avian Bird Flu the Avian Term Paper

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The risk to humans is generally low, however during any outbreak of Avian Flu among poultry, there is always a possible risk to humans who have contact with the infected birds and surfaces contaminated with excretions from the infected fowl (Avian1). The current outbreak of H5N1 among poultry in Asia and Europe is an example of a bird flu outbreak that has caused human infections and death (Avian1). In rare instances, limited human-to-human spread of H5N1 virus has occurred, however transmission has not been observed to continue beyond one person (Avian1). Because all influenza viruses have the ability to change, scientists are concerned that the H5N1 virus could mutate and infect humans with a strain that could easily spread from one person to another (Avian1).

Furthermore, according to the CDC, because these viruses do not commonly infect humans, there is little or no immune protection against them in the human population, thus if the H5N1 virus were able to infect humans and spread easily from person to person, an influenza pandemic, or worldwide outbreak of disease, could begin (Avian1). No one can predict when a pandemic might occur, however experts from around the world are monitoring the H5N1 situation in Asia very closely and are preparing for the possibility that the virus may begin to spread more easily and widely from person to person (Avian1). Although the H5N1 virus currently in Asia is resistant to the two antiviral medications, amantadine and rimantadine, two other antiviral medications, oseltamavir and zanamavir, are believed to be effective in treating the H5N1 virus, however the CDC cautions that additional studies still need to be done in order to prove their effectiveness (Avian1). Currently there is no commercially available vaccine to protect humans against the H5N1 virus that is being seen in Asia and Europe, but vaccine development efforts are taking place (Avian1). In fact, research studies to test a vaccine that would protect humans against H5N1 virus began in April 2005, and a series of clinical trials is underway (Avian1).

The current risk from the H5N1 virus to Americans is low, and although the virus strain has been found in Asia and Europe, so far it has not been found in the Untied States and there have been no human cases of H5N1 flu reported in the U.S. (Avian1). However, it is possible that travelers returning from affected countries could be infected if they were exposed to the virus, therefore since February 2004, medical and public health officials have been closely watching to find any such cases (Avian1). And it was in February 2004 that the CDC provided U.S. health departments with recommendations for enhanced surveillance in the U.S. Of the Avian H5N1 (Avian1). Follow-up messages, distributed by the Health Alert Network, were sent to the health departments in August 2004 and again in February 2005, both reminding officials about how to detect, diagnose, and prevent the spread of the Avian influenza A H5N1, as well as recommended measures for laboratory testing for the H5N1 virus (Avian1).

The CDC currently advises that travelers to countries with known outbreaks of H5N1 to avoid poultry farms, contact with animals in live food markets, and any surfaces that appear to be contaminated with feces from poultry or other animals (Avian1). At this time, the CDC does not recommend any travel restrictions to affected countries (Avian1).

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is taking part in a number of pandemic prevention and preparedness activities (Avian1). The CDC is providing leadership to the National Pandemic Influenza Preparedness and Response Task Force that was created in May 2005 by the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (Avian1). It is also working with the Association of Public Health Laboratories on training workshops for state laboratories on the use of special techniques to identify H5 viruses, and the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists to help states with their pandemic planning efforts (Avian1). The CDC is helping other agencies such as the Department of Defense and the Veterans Administration on antiviral stockpile issues (Avian1). The CDC is also performing laboratory testing of H5N1 viruses, and working with WHO and the National Institutes of Health on safety testing of vaccines (Avian1).

Works Cited

Avian1 Influenza. Retrieved November 01, 2005 from Centers for Disease

Control and Prevention Web site: http://www.cdc.gov/flu/avian/gen-info/avian-flu-humans.htm

Avian Influenza. Retrieved November 01, 2005 from World Health Organization Web site: http://www.who.int/csr/disease/avian_influenza/avian_faqs/en/index.html#whatis

History1 of the Avian Flue. The Avian Flu Information Site. Retrieved November 01, 2005 at http://www.avian-flu-info.org/history_of_bird_flu.asp

History of Avian Flu. Retrieved November 01, 2005 at http://www.ringsurf.com/info/Medicine_and_Health/Avian_Flu/History_of_Avian_Flu[continue]

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