What is the "Bird Flu"?
The “Bird Flu” is a type of influenza virus. Influenza viruses can infect several animal species, including birds, pigs, and horses. Influenza viruses that infect birds are called “avian influenza viruses.” Wild birds are considered the natural hosts for influenza virus.
Where did it originate?
Wild birds are a natural reservoir for these viruses and may carry these viruses without becoming ill due to natural resistance. Wild waterfowl can then be responsible for the primary introduction of infection into domestic poultry. In intensive poultry rearing systems, young fattening turkeys and laying hens are usually the most affected species.
Is this a form of SARS?
No. SARS is caused by a coronavirus, not an influenza virus.
How is avian influenza spread?
Certain birds act as hosts of influenza viruses. Infected birds shed virus in saliva, nasal secretions and feces. Avian influenza viruses spread to susceptible birds when they have contact with contaminated nasal, respiratory and fecal material from infected birds. However, fecal-to-oral transmission is the most common mode of spread among birds (for example, contaminated food and water supplies).
Is it possible to get the bird flu from eating chicken or eggs?
It is safe to eat poultry and eggs. However, Health Canada is advising travelers to affected areas in Asia that they should not consume undercooked poultry, raw eggs or lightly cooked egg products (such as runny eggs). It is also recommended to avoid unnecessary contact with live poultry. This includes markets where live birds are sold, as it is possible for the avian influenza virus to stick to hair and clothing, and it may also be inhaled.
Is this form of influenza contagious?
At this time, there is no evidence that the current strain of avian influenza in Asia is spread directly from person to person. However, it is possible that the virus could change so that it could spread easily from person to person. If a person, who is sick with human influenza, was exposed to avian influenza, there is a possibility that the avian influenza virus could acquire human influenza genes. This "mixing" could result in the creation of a new subtype of the influenza virus.
Because these viruses do not commonly infect humans, there is little or no immune protection against them in the human population. If an avian virus were able to infect people and gain the ability to spread easily from person to person, an “influenza pandemic” could begin. There is currently no evidence that this is happening.
Are certain groups of people more at risk of catching the bird flu?
People living or visiting affected areas in Asia who have direct contact with live infected birds or their droppings are at most risk of catching avian influenza.
What are the signs and symptoms of avian influenza?
The symptoms of avian influenza in humans range from typical influenza-like symptoms (e.g., fever, cough, sore throat and muscle aches) to eye infections and pneumonia.
Is the bird flu deadly?
The current strain of “bird flu” circulating in Asia can be deadly. About two-thirds of infected people can die from this strain.
What are the treatment options for someone who has the bird flu?
A certain class of anti-viral drugs, called “Neuraminidase Inhibitors” is effective against the current strain of “Bird Flu”. Tamiflu® (oseltamivir) is one example of this type of drug.
The UK Government announced it is to procure 14.6 million courses of Roche Holding's Tamiflu® over the next two years, in preparation for a possible outbreak of bird flu in the UK.
In the government's Pandemic Influenza Contingency Plan, Health Secretary John Reid said that pandemic flu is not like the seasonal flu seen every winter in the UK. Experts suggest that around one in four of the UK population could be affected by the disease.
Oseltamivir was approved in October 1999. It received approval for treating acute influenza infection if given within the first two days of the onset of symptoms. The US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has recently expanded the labeling for this product to include the prevention of influenza. This approval was supported by several clinical studies that showed oseltamivir effective in preventing influenza illness in adults and elderly when taken once daily.
Who can take Tamiflu®?
Tamiflu® is reccommended to patients aged 1 year and over, who are showing early flu-like symptoms.
Who CAN'T take Tamiflu®?
You should not take Tamiflu® if you are allergic to oseltamivir phosphate or any other ingredients of Tamiflu®. Before starting treatment, make sure your doctor knows if you are taking any other medication or have any type of kidney disease.
When should I take Tamiflu®?
Tamiflu® is most effective taken twice daily within 48 hours of the onset of the flu.
Are there any side effects from taking Tamiflu®?
Tamiflu® is generally well tolerated. The most common side effects are nausea and vomiting. Taking Tamiflu® with food may reduce the potential of these side effects. If you notice any side effects not mentioned - or if you have any concerns about the side effects you are experiencing, please inform your doctor.
Is Tamiflu® a cure for the Bird Flu?
No, Tamiflu® is not a cure for Bird Flu, however clinical trials have proven that patients taking Tamiflu® recovered from flu symptoms 30% faster than those who didn't.
How do I order Tamiflu® OR Relenza from e-med?
Currently Tamiflu® is scarce in the UK. e-med can provide the medication in Capsule form only. We are also able to issue paper prescriptions for Tamiflu® Suspension and Relenza.
- 20 Tamiflu Capsules - Paper Prescription Only = £10 (£20 non-members)
- 10 Tamiflu Capsules - Medication = £50 (£60 non-members)
- 20 Tamiflu Capsules - Medication = £100 (£120 non-members)
- 2x 30g Tamiflu Suspension - Paper Prescription Only = £10 (£20 non-members)
Click here to join now.
Note: You DO NOT need to join e-med to order Tamiflu® or Relenza.