Bird Flu Info
Although there is currently no bird flu pandemic, it's still a good idea to educate yourself about this illness. For example, what is it and how is it transmitted?
Bird flu (also called avian flu or avian influenza) is an infection that occurs naturally in birds. Although avian influenza A viruses usually do not infect humans, more than 100 confirmed human cases have been reported since 1997. Most are thought to have resulted from direct contact with infected poultry or contaminated surfaces. However, there is still a lot to learn about how different subtypes and strains of this condition might affect humans.
Research suggests that two antiviral medicines, oseltamivir (Tamiflu®) and zanamivir (Relenza®), may be useful for a particular strain of bird flu (H5N1). However, H5N1 viruses are generally resistant to amantadine and rimantadine (two other available antiviral drugs), so they cannot be used for treatment.
(For more information, click Bird Flu. This article takes an in-depth look at symptoms in humans and discusses the different types of bird flu.)