BIRD FLU: A(H5N1) VIRUS FLIES ALL OVER CENTRAL AND WEST AFRICA

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AVIAN  INFLUENZA OUTBREAKS HITS MANY AFRICAN COUNTRIES

THE VIRUS ATTACKS PUBLIC HEALTH BUT  ECONOMY TOO

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The virus as a pathogen is so popular as a topic not only  among epidemiologists, but also among  writers, movie makers and apocalyptic believers. It seems that the invisible molecular shark is stronger every time it crawls out of the mysterious micro universe and bring its army of clones into offensive war against people. The modern world is facing up with so many deadly diseases that making the list of the most dangerous microbe is changeable from one day to another because germs adjust themselves and polish their killing machine. In one moment, we are all sure that Ebola virus is the queen of all of them but after Marburg virus takes lives, we are not so convinced who is who in that family. Then, another team of killers are making outbreaks in some part of the Planet and we hear for Lassa or Hanta virus, being afraid of Dengue or Machupo and simply work to be prepared on new epidemics of famous Bird flu, because influenza is still alive and cruel.

The A(H5N1) code is given for a specific form of Avian influenza,  as a zoonotic  viral disease. The name of this sub type of Bird flu means that the virus is not only dangerous for birds but also can cause the severe infections among humans:“Avian influenza (AI) is an infectious viral disease of birds (especially wild water fowl such as ducks and geese), often causing no apparent signs of illness. AI viruses can sometimes spread to domestic poultry and cause large-scale outbreaks of serious disease. Some of these AI viruses have also been reported to cross the species barrier and cause disease or subclinical infections in humans and other mammals.AI viruses are divided into 2 groups based on their ability to cause disease in poultry: high pathogenicity or low pathogenicity. Highly pathogenic viruses result in high death rates (up to 100% mortality within 48 hours) in some poultry species. Low pathogenicity viruses also cause outbreaks in poultry but are not generally associated with severe disease.”

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This virus A(H5N1) belongs to that first category which means that is highly pathogenic and with high level of mortality. It is known since 1997, after first humans have been infected during the Hong Kong Outbreak. Unfortunately, the virus made a jump betwen hosts and it hasn’t been big surprise that the disease was  crusading in 2003 and 2004 and then easily has been spread from Asia to Europe and Africa. The poultry field became the most sensible element of living stock because there were millions of destroyed animals and several hundred of people who were directly affected by this Bird Flu. Many of them died and the panic was global since many countries didn’t have approach to this epidemic and they were shocked with the fast way of virus spreading and mutation.

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The picture of this virus hasn’t been so clear to the medical experts. They didn’t know what to expect. Usually,  when the microbe is making a transmission from one species to another, that causes a lot of severe complication for the newest host. Literally, virus mutates each time it crosses the line between two different organisms so it is almost impossible to catch its basic look and features.

Initial clinical portrait of A(H5N1) is mixed with the typical attributes of seasonal influenza but enhanced with dark sides of the new, evil sibling. The incubation goes from 3 to 8 days but there were cases up to 17 days. WHO advises all local epidemic branches to focus on 7 days as an optimal incubation indicator. The symptoms varies from high fever over 38°C, coughing and sore throat to diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain, chest pain, and bleeding from the nose and gums. If the diagnosis is failed, the appropriate treatment is missed and the patient will be hit by fatal outcome. It is recommended to make treatment with oseltamivir but as soon as possible after the detection is made. Otherwise, the big risk is that the benefits of the drug wont be visible.

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The humans are exposed to this virus as long as they are exposed to the contact with infected live or dead poultry or even infected  live bird markets. That is happening very often in Asia and this region is very attractive to virus to develop itself and to make plots for human pandemic.However, the problem is not only crowded Asian poultry market but also the African network, which seems to fight with the increasing risk of real Bird Flu Outbreak, especially in 2016.

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The whole international community is being aware of the potential of this virus to cause chaotic events on agricultural markets and stocks and to bring  real danger of human pandemic into health night mares. Just the ability of A(H5N1) to build human-to-human transmission and to challenge the weak  people immunity or lack of immunity against it is a reason worth of serious discussions on the highest level.

The UN Food Agency stated in July that Bird Flu will become the endemic in the region of Central and West  Africa. According to the reports from the ground, the countless number of poultry farms across this area have been affected by Bird Flu and with no possibility to limit the disease and to support quarantine measures.Cameroon, Niger, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Ghana and Nigeria are in the same basket when it comes to this Avian Influenza. The problem is that those countries arent capable to organize quarantine standards and to implement it as well as they do not have equipped technical stuff which will deal effectively with the isolated or epidemic cases. Their official budgets are very poor and we should keep in mind that many of them are not only facing up with Bird Flu but also with Ebola and Lassa virus. Their health system is weak and it is just a matter of time when it will be finally broken if the world doesnt inject the necessary financial and medical help.

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Nearly 3.5 million birds have been killed by virus  in Nigeria but the problem of poverty remain the bigger than aggressive Influenza. Many people there live only from the poultry business and if they lose it, the country has no money to pay them out so called compensation and the circle of poverty getting bigger and bigger. Not only that, many locals arent skilled enough to recognize the disease in its beginning and to react but sometimes they are ready even to hide because they think they will bankrupt if the outbreaks is officially confirmed and the state is implementing the allowed standards in that case.

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The rest of the world must be united now with African countries regarding this problem because we shouldnt let Africa become the womb for deadly viruses. The last time we have been all in harmony and devoted to act was when Ebola virus has escaped from Africa and walked into Europe and America. Before it happened, there were many years of lone battle for African people with new occurring mystic virus.

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It is shameful how the developed world is not upset when the epidemics is in Africa like it is something normal for Africa to deal with. Suddenly, when Gods send some happy virus on our doors, we are considering doing all to stop it. That is not humanity, that is selfish response to a problem. Science must be everyone’s and must work for everyone, that is the only right way.

The A(H5N1) is flying over the Africa together with some of the rarest African wild birds. It flies over the sunset and over the thousands of people and their unsolved hard destinies. There, so far away from us and our shelter zone.

 

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