The first thing we need to look at is what exactly is bird flu. It is a strain of the influenza virus that is transmitted through wild birds. People normally can not get the virus from wild birds but the wild birds can pass it onto domestic birds like chicken, turkeys and ducks. Once the domestic birds have the virus they become very sick and have to be killed.
The flu virus is transmitted to humans when they come into contact with the bird droppings, nasal fluids and saliva of the birds. It has also been found on the surface of the cages, fences and other farm equipment. The virus normally affects farmers first before it spreads to other people who have had contact with the birds. It is very difficult to pass the virus from one person to another, but it does happen. The main problem with bird flu is that it kills most of the people who get it because the body doesn't have a natural immunity to the virus and it affects everyone severely.
If someone does come down with the bird flu virus, the poultry they have been exposed to will need to be killed to stop the virus from spreading any further. Also the person who is sick will be placed in isolation and will be treated by doctors that wear masks and gloves to try and ensure that they do not spread the virus further.
It is important to realize that bird flu can not be transmitted through our food as long as it is fully cooked. The heat from cooking the poultry kills the virus. So make sure that you fully cook your poultry and eggs to ensure that you don't get sick.
The virus hasn't affected any humans in the United States or Canada yet, but experts believe that it is only a matter of time before this happens.
If you are traveling to a country that has had confirmed cases of bird flu, then there are some things you can do to help limit your chances of getting the virus.
1. Avoid farms where poultry are being raised to include factories and plants.
2. Avoid open-air markets where poultry is sold.
3. Get a regular flu shot from your doctor before you travel to a country that has had an outbreak of bird flu.
4. Keep your hands clean. Wash them often or use antibacterial hand gel. If you use hand gel, make sure that it contains alcohol.
5. Make sure you do not eat raw or partially cooked poultry and eggs.
The concern that scientists have with bird flu is that viruses mutate and they are concerned how this one will mutate, as it is resistant to the two main antiviral medications used for influenza.