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Bird flu, the risk to children

Bird flu, the risk to children



What is bird flu?
Avian influenza usually occurs in birds or, more rarely, in pigs. The disease is caused by a virus and can be extremely serious in humans. There are 15 types of viruses that can cause it, the most aggressive being the H5N1 virus.
Places around the world where there have been bird flu cases are Indonesia, Vietnam and parts of Cambodia, China and Thailand. But cases have been reported in Europe.
The last epidemic was recorded in 1918 in Spain when 250 thousand people died. The virulent form of influenza manifested in humans is given by the H1N1 virus.
How does it manifest in humans?
Avian influenza can be transmitted to humans by ingesting unprepared meat from infected birds. It can also be taken by direct or indirect contact with animal droppings.
In February this year, 271 cases of bird flu in humans were reported, of which 165 were fatal. It is not yet known whether it can be transmitted from human to human. The most affected are those who grow or work with birds or those who live in poor conditions.
Particularly dangerous are the genetic mutations that can occur in the case of the recombination of the avian influenza virus with the human influenza virus. This is the possibility that the new hybrid formed can transmit humans and produce pandemics, but this theory is not yet proven.
What are the symptoms?
The symptoms of avian influenza can easily be confused with those of a simple cold: sore throat, muscular asthenia, headache, cough and fever. The evolution of the disease should be carefully observed and if the symptoms persist you should contact the doctor.
Risk to children
The cases registered so far show a higher incidence of the disease in children and adolescents. Avian influenza can cause respiratory, cardiovascular or liver dysfunction. Therefore, in people with immunosuppressed (with pre-existing chronic disease) the form of bird flu can be very severe.
Contact with birds
Certain hygiene rules must be observed "
Certain hygiene rules should be observed if outbreaks of avian influenza have been reported and contact with any bird should be avoided.
Treatment
The treatment also exists in our country, and consists of a vaccine against bird flu (Tamiflu) which must be given 48 hours after the onset of symptoms. The purpose of this vaccine is to stop the worsening of the disease and prevent its spread in the community.
Black Delia
Editor

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