Preventing transmission to humans
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CTA. 2006. Preventing transmission to humans. Rural Radio Resource Pack 06/3. Wageningen, The Netherlands: CTA.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/57286
Who is at risk of catching avian flu from poultry, and what should such people do to protect themselves?
Preventing transmission to humans Cue: There are many different strains of avian flu, which cause death and sickness in poultry around the world every year. However, the H5N1 strain, which is causing such concern to poultry producers and veterinary authorities, is different from others, because it is the first strain we know of that can be passed from birds to humans. So far over one hundred people have died from H5N1, mostly in South East Asia. However, scientists fear that if more human cases occur, the virus could develop into a new form which could be spread from one person to another. This could lead to a serious epidemic, causing thousands or even millions of human deaths. Preventing transmission of the virus from birds to humans is therefore very important. And there are a number of simple measures that farmers and poultry keepers can take to reduce their risk of contracting the disease. Dr Linus Chimangha, an inspector from the Cameroon ministry responsible for agriculture, spoke to Martha Chindong about how spread of the disease from poultry to humans can be prevented and what symptoms people should look for if they think they have been exposed to birds that may have avian flu. Martha began by asking which types of people are most at risk of contracting the disease. IN: ?First the farmers, the poultry farmers ?? OUT: ??for confirmation of the diagnosis.? DUR?N: 5?01? BACK ANNOUNCEMENT: Dr Linus Chimangha with some advice to people if they think they could be at risk of having contracted avian flu. The interview comes from a radio resource pack on avian flu produced by CTA. Transcript Chimangha First the farmers, the poultry farmers and their families, who have direct contact with the birds on a daily basis. Then you have veterinarians and other technicians who visit these poultry establishments for no matter what type of intervention. Then you have even journalists, journalists like you sitting here. When an outbreak occurs you will visit it and want to have in depth information so you can better inform the population. In cases where there are outbreaks you have people who are in charge of clearing the poultry houses, people who will do slaughtering of the poultry and disposing of them. Groups of people who will go in to disinfect the poultry houses. You have even researchers and laboratory technicians who will go in to collect blood samples for examination. So these are the classes of people who are very highly susceptible and more vulnerable to the infection by, not only avian flu, but equally all other epidemics which may occur in livestock or poultry. Chindong In the case of avian flu, what of small scale farmers who stay in their houses with fowls? Chimangha These are very susceptible groups of people, and it is not advisable for people who keep chickens to be living with them in the same type of establishment. Chindong So for these people at greater risk, how can they protect themselves? Chimangha Implementing some biosecurity measures, hygienic practices, whenever they touch poultry they should wash their hands well and their clothing, they should wear protective clothing, gloves and a mask, particularly in places where an outbreak has been reported. And they should have things like dips, footbaths at the entrance of the poultry house, so that they dip in their feet when they are going in and when they are going out. And then ensuring that all poultry products which they consume ? in fact this one is even a general measure ? should be well cooked. As you know the virus does not withstand cooking at boiling of 60 degrees Celsius for five minutes, and at 100 degrees for just one minute the virus is destroyed. So these are some of the things they should do. And equally, in case of any suspected cases, say a sick bird, they should report it immediately to the veterinary authorities for measures to be taken. Chindong When a farmer comes in contact with the dead bird, is he at risk too? Chimangha Sure, certainly he is at risk, and that is why he is not supposed to pick up that dead bird with his empty hands. He should wear gloves, or if no gloves are available he should use something like a plastic bag, and then pick up the dead bird. And you either dispose of it, or where the disease is suspected you report it to the veterinary authorities. Such birds should really be burned or buried very deeply. Chindong When human beings contract the disease, what are the symptoms? Chimangha When human beings get this disease, you know it is a disease of the respiratory system. But the pronounced symptoms start coming after some few days of incubation, say about two days to one week, at times it can even stay up to two weeks. And then you see the symptoms coming up, which just present as the common symptoms of flu or cold, with a temperature of up to 38 at times even 39 degrees Celsius. You have a painful or sore throat. Then muscle and joint pains, respiratory signs like cough, then running nose, coupled with headache, loss of appetite and occasional nausea and vomiting. Then such respiratory signs may become more severe and they could give rise to bronchitis, sinusitis, and other bacterial pneumonias. Then specifically in elderly people, or people with other infections which compromise their immune system, like HIV/AIDS, such symptoms may become even more severe and lead to death. But generally death from this disease is rare, except if it is aggravated by other underlying medical conditions. Chindong So if we notice such a case, what is the immediate thing a farmer should do at home, even at home or anywhere, what is the immediate thing that can be done? Chimangha When avian flu is suspected in any severe cold conditions which are not immediately responding to common treatment, you should rush immediately to the hospital and meet the medical authorities. These are the ones who are supposed to do more in depth diagnosis and then see what treatment they can undertake. But again the case should be reported to the veterinary authorities, so that they come in with their own investigation for confirmation of the diagnosis. End of track.