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Bird Flu

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Bird flu, Avian Influenza, or the H5N1 virus is well known throughout America. There is something everyday on the news about spreading the concern for bird flu, thing like the virus mutating or a new vaccine that could save many lives if an epidemic occurred. The virus mainly affects the bird species but certain strains can kills 90 to 100 percent of its victims. Although cases in humans are rare the H5N1 virus often proves very fatal.

Avian Influenza occures naturally in wild bird around the world. The virus developes in their intestines and is very contages to any bird. According to the CDC these strains can be very deadly to domesticated birds such as ducks, chickens, and turkeys(2006). There are many strains of this virus, but the low pathogenic and the high pathogenic are the two main forms of the virus. The low pathogenic form usually goes undeteced and can causes only mild symptoms such as ruffled feathers and a drop in egg production. However the high pathogenic form spreads rapidly and can cause severer organ damage and destroys up to 100 percent of the flock(CDC, 2006).

The Avian Flu is mostly species specific at the moment. The virus has a hard time affecting humans. Most cases of avian influenza in humans resulted from contact with infected poultry or surfaces contaminated by secretions from the infected birds. Transmission from one person to another is very rare, and transmission beyond one person has not yet been recorded(Mayo Clinic, 2006). Many scientist are very concerned about the possibility of the virus mutating and crossing the species barrier. This would allow the H5N1 virus to spread easily from person to person possibly causeing a influenza pandemic(London, 2006). Many researchers have the determined the 1918 spanish flu was a possible form of the bird flu this epidemic killed 50 million people or more. Scientist have followed certains strains of the virus from Asia to Europe, and even to Africa that has killed over 100 people and millions of birds(London, 2006). This strain has also started to infect cats, pigs, and other animals that usually don't catch Avian flu which is a clear indicator the virus is mutating and this shows the possibility of an outbreak in the near future(Mayo Clinic, 2006). Many experts believe that the H5N1 virus is the next pandemic.

The US Government is coming up with a plan to help prevent an epidemic if a strain of the virus became very contageous to humans. The governments main plan is to get



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