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How Do Humans Become Infected With Bird Flu

By Sarah Jenkins

The infection process with bird flu is not particularly complicated. As with other strains of influenza, the virus itself is passed from host to host, although bird flu is not transmitted from human contact like other strains of the flu. However, people should still be knowledgeable of how bird flu is contracted to avoid it as much as possible.

Currently, the primary way humans become infected with the disease is through contact with infected animals or their feces. The virus is transmitted through bodily excretions, such as saliva, nasal secretions, and feces or through contact with contaminated surfaces. In many of the regions where outbreaks have occurred, people, poultry and pigs live in very close contact, therefore, increasing the likelihood of transmitting the disease.

Especially in agricultural arenas, virus transmission occurs more frequently to humans. The reason for this is the necessity of handling fowl for feeding, medical care, and slaughter. People will often handle birds and not properly sanitize their hands and clothing afterward. Also, because fowl are usually kept in small areas for farming purposes, the disease spreads easily and feces accumulates quickly, also increasing human contact with potentially dangerous excretions. The virus lives on contaminated surfaces for several days, which also increases infection probability.

Another way of infection is by ingesting infected poultry that was not cooked properly. It is always suggested to fully cook any meat you are preparing for yourself or your family to eliminate bacteria and harmful viruses. When cooking poultry, you should cook the meat to a temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit or 74 degrees Celsius to ensure its safety. Especially in the cases of infection in children, ingesting contaminated food is believed to be the primary cause because children handling fowl is considerably less common in the areas where outbreaks have occurred. This is of particular concern as children have a higher mortality rate than adults. As with most infectious diseases, it has more of a negative effect of the weak: the very young and very old.

With time, people fear the virus will mutate to a form transmittable from human to human. If this occurs, infection will occur as with the regular flu strain. The virus will spread through saliva and mucus contact through sneezing, coughing, or breathing in close vicinity of others. With mutation, the virus will spread with much more ease through human populations, possibly causes massive illness and death.

About The Author

Sarah Jenkins is an acclaimed writer on medical matters, and has written extensively on the subjects of Attention Deficit Disorder, Bird Flu and Cohn's Disease. For more of her articles, go to now.


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