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Bird Flu – Get your facts right

You would have heard about Bird Flu in the news, on your television and from your friends. Large numbers of birds, especially poultry, have been culled in many countries in South east Asia. You may even have heard about Tamiflu, a prescription drug approved by FDA in October 1999 and marketed by Roche Laboratories used to treat Avian flu infection. It has been known that production of Tamiflu, all over the world, is not enough to treat everyone, was Bird Flu to take on pandemic proportions among humans. What you need to do, for your safety and you family’s, is to get your facts straight and understand what Avian Flu and the drug Tamiflu are all about.

The active ingredient in Tamiflu is oseltamivir phosphate, and it used to treat flu symptoms that started within the last couple of days, no longer. Tamiflu has also seen to reduce the chances of contracting Flu, especially among children. But, what is this virus we keep hearing about? And, how can a chicken virus hurt human beings? Well, a virus is a highly adaptable organism. The word “Flu” is merely a short form for Influenza. And, Avian Flu is a variation of Influenza that is caused by a virus that has adapted itself to infect birds. The only known such virus is the Influenza A virus, but the best known subtype of this virus is the highly infectious H5N1 virus, which is endemic in many birds.

As of now, this virus has been infecting only those people who work very closely with poultry. But, there is a very serious threat of the virus mutating enough to change into a form that can pass from person to person. This would make it endemic in humans as well, and only a drastic culling of birds has kept this threat at bay, for now. Avian Flu in human beings exhibits the usual respiratory symptoms, such as a fever, aching muscles, cough, sore throat, conjunctivitis. In extremely severe cases, where the infected individual’s immunity is especially low, it causes severe breathing problems and leads to pneumonia which could turn fatal. Apart from treating patients who have contracted infection in a couple of days, Tamiflu also reduces the chances of contracting Flu, especially among children.

Governments have been stockpiling Tamiflu, but the current supplies are simply not enough to treat everyone if a pandemic was to break out. In response to growing concerns, the manufacture of generic oseltamivir (or, generic Tamiflu) has started in many Asian countries, like India, Vietnam, Thailand, and so on. So, educate yourself about this very real threat to humanity and protect yourself and your families.