Scientists and civilians have anxiously monitored the news reports and cringed as every new chicken or duck was found dead, infected with the avian bird flu.
Threats have become more realistic as two people in China recently died with the H5N1 strand in their systems, according to Reuters. A health ministry in China on Wed, Nov. 16 confirmed a 24-year-old poultry worker and a 9-year-old boy from Hunan, as the first victims, according to Reuters. A third girl suspected of dying from the virus could not be confirmed since her body was cremated. Deaths have also been reported in Indonesia as well.
People are now concerned about keeping the bird flu under control and preventing it from spreading to more people in China. They are particularly concerned about the amount of Chinese with close contact to chickens and ducks on a regular basis because of the country’s vast poultry flocks, according to Reuters.
Many people remember the recent SARS outbreak in Eastern Asia in 2003. The Chinese government was under a lot of fire for their response to the outbreak, so precautionary measures are underway to prevent the bird flu from having the same impact. There are plans to vaccinate thousands of birds on farms and to implement early detection methods.
The symptoms of the bird flu can easily be mistaken for the flu or the common cold. Some patients report fever, cough, sore throat and muscle aches, according to Birdflu.org. Others may experience things ranging from eye infections, pneumonia, acute respiratory distress and other life-threatening complications, according to Birdflu.org.
The threat of the bird flu becoming a global pandemic is a realistic one. It can likely spread from human to human and there is real potential for it to affect us in our own backyard. People are going to be on the lookout in the next few months and trying to stay afloat of the data and the casualties to learn more about the new strand and its capabilities.