Bird Flu or Avian Influenza caused by Influenza virus effects wild and domestic birds. The strain known as H5N1 is considered to be highly pathogenic and contagious this virus spreads through the infected birds sheddings like saliva, nasal secreations and droppings. Healthy birds get infected when they come in contact with contaminated secretions of feaces of the infected bird. Symptoms in the infected birds range from low production of eggs to organ failure and even death.
Humans may get bird flu from direct contact with the infected birds or their infected droppings / secretions. Although human cases of bird flu are rare but direct contact with sick poultry pose highest risk for bird flu. Exposure to the bird feaces, contact with unwashed eggs from sick birds or contaminated water of poultry farm comes under the causes for high risk of this disease. Symptoms occur 2 – 8 days after exposure to virus. Patient experience fever, cough, sore throat, muscle ache. Vomiting, diarrhoea, nausea, eye infections may also be associated with it. It can progress to pnuemonioa or even respiratory failure.
Routine test for Human influenza virus will be postive in patients with bird flu but are not specific for avian virus. During and after infection with bird flu the body makes antibodies against virus. Blood test can detect these antibodies but this requires one sample at the onset of the disease and another sample several weeks later. Thus the results are not available until the patient has recovered or died.
Anti-viral medicines – Oseltamivir, Zanamivir, etc claim to treat H5 N1. Howeever studies need to be done to demostrate their effectiveness.
Prognosis in human cases of bird flu remain poor. Approximately 60 % of people diagnosed with Avian flu eventually die from the disease. Most of the cases happen to be in rural areas and under devoloped countries that do not acess to medical facility.
Prevention of Avian flu through Siddha Herbs :
Prevention of diseases like Avian flu, Swine flu, Dengue are successfully possible through Siddha. During Epidemics like above said diseases intake of few herbs / medicines which can provide immunity and anti-microbial properties to fight such ailments. Here are the list of 5 herbs that not even help to prevent bird flu but also provides natural immunity against various other diseases.
- Nilavembu Kudineer (As per Siddha Literature) : According to Siddha Vaidya Thirattu Nilavembu kudineer, A combination of 9 herbs is effective against seasonal fevers, malarial fever, Pitha Suram, Dengue, Swine flu, Avian flu, Chikunguniya etc. It consists of Nilavembu (whole plant), Vettiver, Vilamichaver, Chandanam, Peipudal, Chukku, Milagu, Koraikizhangu, Parpadagam. Decoction or infusion of this choornam if taken twice or thrice daily provides the above said health benefits.
- Manjal (Turmeric) : Intake of small amounts of Turmeric relieves fever due to the prescence of Curcumin (Anti-imflammatory & Anti-microbial agent) It helps to fight infection effectively by reducing the lethal effects of Bird flu cytokine storm. This is a biological event caused due to disturbed immune system.
- Poondu (Garlic) : Garlic is a natural medicine with excellent properties to fight flu as it is Anti-viral and Anti-biotic in action. It can be taken raw or made into tea or soup.
- Inji (Ginger) : Anti-microbial and Anti-Imflammatory properties of ginger help to prevent bird flu and prevent natural immunity.
- Vedhu or Steam Inhallation : Nasal block due to congestive sinuses and congestion is a common symptom seen in bird flu. This can be relieved by inhaling medicated steam of hot steaming water infused with Tulsi leaves and turmeric. Mint or Lemon grass can also be used. The steam is arranged in a wide mouthed vessel, head is covered with towel during the process. This procedure can be repeated 2 – 4 times a day.
- Vitamin C : Vitamin C rich Citrus, Berries should be taken as a prevention regimen daily for better immunity and fighting of the infection.
- Hygiene & Clean food habits : Washing hands well with Anti-septic soaps repeatedly throghout the day especially before and after eating. The nails shuold be kept short and clean. If poultry meat is consumed, it should be cooked very well. Eggs should be washed throughly and boiled atleast for 15 minutes to ensure properly cooked. Referigerated food like coocked chicken and other poultry items should be strictly avoided. Workers in poultry farm should be given awareness to use gloves, aprons and outergarments for better safety. Buyers and customers should confirm the hygiene of the poultry, its surroundings, quality of the chosen meat and also hygeine of the worker before purchasing.