Bird Flu
        and You

                                                   Medication and drugs available


A human immune system is designed to combat most infections and under normal circumstances would fight influenza viruses.  This is due to the body’ s natural ability to recognize a foreign virus and develop an immune response.  This natural ability to develop immune response takes time.  The H5N1 virus is a new bird flu virus to the human body and therefore the body has not hand a chance to develop the ability to fight the virus on its own.  The human body needs the help of medication and drugs.  Anti-viral drugs are being developed that will either help boost our natural immune response to the viruses or destroy the actually bird flu virus  Using antibacterial drugs is not an option as they have no effect as the bird flu is caused by a virus and not bacteria.

Bird Flu Treatment of Humans

Viruses are best treated by preventing them but there are some antiviral drugs that have been developed to treat viral infections.  Naturally, the human body has an efficient defense system against foreign object within the body.  Viruses offer a challenge because the viruses live within normal cells and the immune cells find them hard to recognize.  Our immune system normally kills viruses by killing the whole cell that is infected.  The normal treatment of viral conditions mostly involves treating the symptoms the viral infection causes.  Researchers have however developed antiviral vaccines and medications that have been used to treat viruses in the past.  Most of the developed vaccines act by teaching the body’ s immune so recognize the infected cells and destroying the cell.  Unfortunately as soon as the human body adapts to the new virus and starts recognizing the virus as foreign the virus mutates (changes its genetic makeup).  This makes the new mutated virus hard for the body to recognize.  This also causes treatments that target the virus that were effective today ineffective tomorrow.  This is also why a new flu vaccine needs to be developed every year.  The vaccinations developed to fight influenza viruses are only helpful in fighting some vaccines.  The FDA in the US has approved four different anti-viral drugs to treat influenza.  These are amantadine, oseltamivir, rimantadine and zanamivir. They all can actively treat Influenza A viruses.  It is important to note that however some of influenza virus strains have developed resistance to these drugs.  This means that some of these drugs are no longer effective against the avian flu viruses.  Some of the H5N1 viruses isolated in Asia from both poultry and Humans are resistant to amantiadine and rimantadine.  Tamiflu and Relenza are believed to be the two most effective medications to treat both influenza A and B viruses, including the bird flu virus. In order for the drugs to be effective, anti-viral drugs should be taken within 48 hours of symptoms onset.  This will possibly be a factor hindering the effectiveness of the drug on a global scale.  At this moment supplies of these drugs is limited and the method of their distribution has yet to be addressed.

Bird Flu Treatment of Poultry

There is no treatment that has been proven to help infected poultry.  Once infected the poultry are killed to prevent the spread of the disease.