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H5N1 AVIAN INFLUENZA

H5N1 AVIAN INFLUENZA

Context:

India has recorded the 1st death due to H5N1 avian influenza this year.

About Avian Influenza:

  • It is also called avian influenza.
  • Strains of the influenza virus that infect birds in the first place, but can also infect humans.
  • It is most often contracted by contact with sick birds.
  • It can also be transferred from person to person.

Classification:

  • Avian Influenza type A viruses are classified based on 2 proteins on their surfaces – Hemagglutinin(HA) and Neuraminidase(NA).
  • There are around 18 HA subtypes and 11 NA subtypes.
  • A number of combinations of these 2 proteins are possible e.g., H5N1, H17N10, H7N2, H9N6 etc.

Transmission:

  • There have been reports of avian and swine influenza infections in humans.
  • The infection is deadly as it has a high mortality rate of around 60%.
  • The primary route of virus transmission is direct contact.
  • Contaminated surfaces or air near the infected poultry.

Symptoms:

  •  Two to eight days and can seem like the common flu.
  • Cough, fever, muscle aches, headache, sore throat, and shortness of breath may occur.
  • The disease can carry a high mortality in humans.

Prevention:

  • Some antiviral drugs, if taken within 2 days of symptoms, may help.

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