Bird Flu Breakdown: Understanding Avian Influenza

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As reported cases of bird flu skyrocket across the nation, Bird-X provides the answers to the questions so many people are asking.

birds, geese, migration, bird flu, H5 virus, avian influenza
The H5 virus constantly evolves and mutates over time, so it can be difficult to pin point the health risks it potentially poses for humans.

On May 15th, Nebraska ordered a State of Emergency over the Bird Flu (TIME,) and the situation appears to be intensifying at an alarming pace. So far, 16 states have been hit with bird flu, and over 33 million birds have been culled so far in an effort to fight this problem. Bird-X, bird control experts, explain what the bird flu means to the public, how we can best protect ourselves, and how it will affect us most.

As the Bird-X Avian Influenza page explains, information has been released by U.S. Agriculture Department officials stating that different strains of the virus have been found across the United States, the two most prevalent being H5N8 and H5N2. The viruses and their subsequent outbreaks are all linked, and have been spread through bird migratory pathways worldwide over the past year – infecting many countries, most notably China, where the H5N8 strain was first found.

As the Bird-X page continues, the H5 virus constantly evolves and mutates over time, so it can be difficult to pin point the health risks it potentially poses for humans. Although very rare, farmers and poultry workers are typically the only humans affected by the virus because of their close proximity to the infected birds. In humans, the virus mimics a normal flu virus, including cough, nausea and a sore throat, but if left untreated can result in death. At this time, it is not believed that humans can transmit the virus person-to-person.

Bird-X advises those who experience flu-like symptoms after coming in contact with wild or domestic birds to seek medical attention immediately. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, consuming properly handled poultry or eggs will not result in infection.

However, as the Bird-X page explains, close contact with infected birds and their droppings can potentially result in infection; therefore keeping bird and bird droppings away from buildings, parks, and other spaces is the safest way to protect humans from the virus. Considering migratory birds are being blamed for the international spread of the virus to domestic poultry farms and beyond, a comprehensive bird control program to keep potentially-infected birds out of unwanted spaces is the safest option for peace of mind and public health.

The largest and most certain impact the Bird Flu will have on the public is the cost of groceries, as another TIME article explains. “The virus may pose no risk to humans, but it is already having an impact on prices at the grocery store,” Iowa Governor Terry E. Branstad told TIME.

Due to thousands of birds being destroyed in an effort to stop the virus, most of which have thus far been egg-laying hens, the biggest impact is currently the price of eggs. An agricultural economist at Iowa State University told TIME, “We’re looking at between a 20-30 percent increase in retail prices.” Poultry prices have risen over the past month as well.

The TIME article concludes, “Since the flu is thought to be spread by migratory birds, many are concerned about what will happen in the fall, when birds fly south for the winter.”

Bird-X, Inc. has spent over 50 years protecting public areas from over 60 bird-spread transmissible diseases. The leading international brand of humane bird control solutions, the Chicago-based company manufactures a complete line of unique bird control products, protecting the health of humans, wildlife, and the environment by deterring birds from unwanted areas without harming them.

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Kelly Nelson
Bird-X, Inc.
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poultry, chickens, bird flu, avian influenza