Avian Flu – Basic Facts
Avian Flu (Bird Flu) Basic Facts. UV Sterilization of Airborne Bird Flu Virus.
Recently, many articles have appeared in the media concerning the avian flu (bird flu) and the virtual possibility of a flu pandemic. It is a well known fact that the avian flu virus spreads only among birds and the main scare is that the virus could jump the species barrier and endanger the health of humans. A number of people in Asia have already been infected with the bird flu virus and some of the cases were fatal.
Can UV help against spreading of the bird flu? It is proven that all viruses are susceptible to germicidal UV and require relatively low UV dosages for complete eradication. The influenza virus needs a dose of 6,600µW/cm² UV for 100% kill. The bird flu virus is similar to the regular flu virus. This means that a UV dose of approximately 10,000µW/cm² will effectively eradicate the virus.
Common methods for avoiding the regular flu include hand washing, avoiding contact with infected persons, covering the nose and mouth when sneezing. These measures are preventing transfer of the virus from person to person. The transfer could be direct or indirect through inhaling airborne viruses. Germicidal UV fixtures in homes, offices, schools, hospitals and laboratories can perform similar preventive functions against airborne flu virus. UV can constantly wash the indoor air and reduce or eliminate the spread of the virus. This will not prevent a person from getting sick from eating infected poultry or getting infected through a direct contact but will eliminate one of the ways of transmission of the flu.
In an interview Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases stated that the United States is equally or better prepared for a pandemic flu than any other country but there is still not enough vaccine produced. He advises the public to read the flu guidelines on the CDC website.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lists the following Key Facts About Avian Influenza (Bird Flu) and Avian Influenza A (H5N1) Virus
What is avian influenza (bird flu)?
Bird flu is an infection caused by avian (bird) influenza (flu) viruses. These flu viruses occur naturally among birds. Wild birds worldwide carry the viruses in their intestines, but usually do not get sick from them. However, bird flu is very contagious among birds and can make some domesticated birds, including chickens, ducks, and turkeys, very sick and kill them.
Do bird flu viruses infect humans?
Bird flu viruses do not usually infect humans, but several cases of human infection with bird flu viruses have occurred since 1997.
What are the symptoms of bird flu in humans?
Symptoms of bird flu in humans have ranged from typical flu-like symptoms (fever, cough, sore throat and muscle aches) to eye infections, pneumonia, severe respiratory diseases (such as acute respiratory distress), and other severe and life-threatening complications. The symptoms of bird flu may depend on which virus caused the infection.
How does bird flu spread?
Infected birds shed flu virus in their saliva, nasal secretions, and feces. Susceptible birds become infected when they have contact with contaminated excretions or surfaces that are contaminated with excretions. It is believed that most cases of bird flu infection in humans have resulted from contact with infected poultry or contaminated surfaces. The spread of avian influenza viruses from one ill person to another has been reported very rarely, and transmission has not been observed to continue beyond one person.
How is bird flu in humans treated?
Studies done in laboratories suggest that the prescription medicines approved for human flu viruses should work in preventing bird flu infection in humans. However, flu viruses can become resistant to these drugs, so these medications may not always work. Additional studies are needed to prove the effectiveness of these medicines.
What is an avian influenza A (H5N1) virus?
Influenza A (H5N1) virus – also called “H5N1 virus” – is an influenza A virus subtype that occurs mainly in birds. It was first isolated from birds (terns) in South Africa in 1961. Like all bird flu viruses, H5N1 virus circulates among birds worldwide, is very contagious among birds, and can be deadly.
So far, spread of H5N1 virus from person to person has been rare and has not continued beyond one person. However, because all influenza viruses have the ability to change, scientists are concerned that the H5N1 virus one day could be able to infect humans and spread easily from one person to another. Because these viruses do not commonly infect humans, there is little or no immune protection against them in the human population. If the H5N1 virus were able to infect people and spread easily from person to person, an influenza pandemic (worldwide outbreak of disease) could begin. No one can predict when a pandemic might occur. However, experts from around the world are watching 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.
What is the risk to people in the United States from the H5N1 bird flu outbreak in Asia and Europe?
The current risk to Americans from the H5N1 bird flu outbreak in Asia is low. The strain of H5N1 virus found in Asia and Europe has not been found in the United States. There have been no human cases of H5N1 flu in the United States. It is possible that travelers returning from affected countries in Asia could be infected if they were exposed to the virus. Since February 2004, medical and public health personnel have been watching closely to find any such cases.
Visit the CDC website for the complete text: http://www.cdc.gov/flu/avian/gen-info/facts.htm