What Are The Causes of Bird Flu or H5N1 (Avian Influenza)?

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What are the causes of bird flu or H5N1 (avian influenza)?

Awadhesh Kishore and Rakhi Sharma*

Sarvoday Mahavidyalaya, Chaumuhan-281406, Mathura (INDIA)

*Institute for Development of Technology for Rural Advancement, Mathura-281004 (INDIA)


Bird flu was related to chickens and classified as H5N1, an avian influenza virus. In humans, it develops through contact with infected poultry and contaminated surfaces. Disease is common in Asia; Africa; America; Europe; Pacific with mortality about 60%. Migratory birds may find and eradicate viruses in the world. It is more typical due to antigenic drift action of virus.


Africa, America, Antigenic drift, Asia, Avian influenza virus, Bird flu, Chickens, Contaminated surfaces, Disease, Europe, H5N1, Humans, Migratory birds, Mortality, Pacific.

Bird flu or avian influenza virus was identified in Hong Kong in 1997 for the first time. The epidemic was related to chickens and classified as H5N1, which a kind of avian influenza virus. The viruses are complex, with a few subtypes and strains that vary considerably from to another. In human cases, infection of avian influenza A (H5N1) is common in Asia, Africa, America, Europe, and the Pacific. The infection has a very high mortality to be slightly over 60%.

In humans beings avian flu develops from contact with infected poultry and surfaces contaminated by sick birds. Humans can also create avian flu from direct contact with another that has avian flu. Few isolated cases of suspected human to human transmission are in existence. Inhaling contaminated particles from affected poultry farm may even be a reason of transmission of this disease from birds to human being. The farmers and others working with poultry, persons touching an infected bird, consumers eating raw or undercooked poultry meat, eggs, or blood from infected birds, travelers visiting affected countries and health care workers and household contacting patients with avian influenza are supposed to have a higher risk of bird flu.

Type C influenza viruses are stable and cause comparatively mild signs of the infection. Type B influenza viruses cause comparably more extreme, though comparatively localized epidemics. Type A influenza viruses cause most dangerous and deadly type of bird flu, or avian influenza. It is so deadly kind of bird flu that 100% of infected birds may die within a period of just 48 hours of contracting the disease. The avian flu virus has been shown to survive in the environment for long periods of time. Birds, who are infected one time with this bird flu, can continue to eradicate the virus in their excretions and secretions for as long as ten days. Past outbreaks of avian flu have often originated in crowded conditions in where humans and poultry live in close quarters. This situation permits a virus to mutate in to a form that more basically infects human beings.

Deadly kind of bird flu affects the respiratory tract, and assaults multiple organs and tissues and leading to huge internal hemorrhages, causes birds to become infected quickly. It is highly contagious, and spreads quickly to surrounding birds.

Other birds, generally migratory ones, may pick up the virus through direct contact with the secretions and excretions or when they have contact with surfaces contaminated with this material. Migratory infected with this simple way are among the acceptable carriers of the H5N1 virus as such the avian flu may spread to anywhere in the world.   

All type A influenza viruses, including bird flu, share the ability to quickly and basically change their genetic makeup called antigenic drift. Thus older strains of the virus are constantly being replaced by new strains that are unaffected by antibodies developed to combat earlier strains. Also, there is no natural immunity against it, causing to enable the new virus to spread quickly, resulting extensive illness and death.


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