Avian Flu aka the Bird Flu

Camille Morton

6a00d8341ed27753ef00e54f46f02c8833-800wi.jpg History: In the year 1997 the Avian Flu infected both people and chickens, this was the first case to be found that the vuris could be transmit from birds to people, 8 died and 18 were hospitalized. It was also seen in two young children in the year of 1999, both children recovered. No other reports were confirmed. At that time it was found that poultry was the main case of the virus. In the year of 2003 two more cases were found in a family from Hong Kong who went to China, only one person in the family recovered the rest died. Another case was found in Netherlands were poultry workers and their families were confirmed to have been infected. there was more than eighty cases were founded, most of their symptoms were respiratory and eye infections, one of the patient died. In this case there was human to human transmission.

The virus can't be diagnosed or found with just symptoms, there is a test done in a laboratory. Swabbing a running nose or throat after the first days of illness and the simple is sent to a lab where they test it, by looking for the virus or trying to grow the virus, (this should only be done in well protected labs). Trying to diagnose the illness later on will be more difficult, at this point the body should have some type of response to the virus and that is how it will be diagnosed. This way isn't always an opinion, because it needs two types of blood specimens. Below are a list of the common symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Coughing
  • Sore Throat
  • Muscle Aches
  • Eye Infections

Effects on Health:
The Avian Flu has to main health risk, one being that it can cause several other diseases, two being that if gone untreated it can be easily passed from person to person.

Studies are being done and so far the medication Tamiflu and Relenza can help treat the virus, although the virus can become resistant to the drugs. The virus can infect all types of animals including, ducks; chickens; pigs; whales; horses and seals. The main host of the virus are birds.


Structure of Avian Flu:
Avian flu is an "Influenza A Viruses" which means,it has ten genes on the eight separate RNA molecules. The Avian flu scientific name is H5N1 which stands for Protein Hemagglutinin (H5) and Protein Neuraminidase (N1).

How does the virus enter a cell:
The virus will connect with a cell membrane when the hemagglutinin, then links to molecules on the surface of the cell host. The surface then folds inward causing the virus particle to drop into the cell. Then the virus falls further into the cell until it is completely wrapped in the cell membrane.

How does the body fight the virus?
With the virus you can have an coughing, depressions and being nauseation and having diarrhea. All of these symptoms help the body fight the virus. Although those who are treated before getting those symptoms have a 9 out of 10 chance of surviving.

How does the virus change?
Over time it there has been ten recored instance, out of all ten 4 cases were "human to human" transferring, although pathogenic virus (H5N1) was showed to be deadly. H5N1 was successful at killing and spreading the virus. What makes the "bird flu" and "swine" flu different is that the bird flu isn't or wasn't able to travel from one person to another (easily), the virus in '97 was known to be from animals that were infected. Although it would be very hard for the virus to get around the world, but in order for it to be worldwide it would have to know the DNA/rNA that will make people cough allowing it to get from one to another.

How is it transmitted:
The bird flu is transmitted by direct contact with infected poultry, eating poultry that isn't completely cooked may give the eater the virus. It is uncommon of a person getting the virus from another person.