Bird flu; H5N1
Different types of avian flu virus may cause different symptoms. Therefore, treatment may vary.
In general, treatment with the antiviral medication oseltamivir (Tamiflu) or zanamivir (Relenza) may make the disease less severe if you start taking the medicine within 48 hours after your symptoms start.
Oseltamivir may also be prescribed for persons who live in the same house as those diagnosed with avian flu.
The virus that causes human avian flu appears to be resistant to the antiviral medicines amantadine and rimantadine. Therefore these medications should not be used if an H5N1 outbreak occurs.
People with severe infection may need to be placed on a breathing machine. Experts recommend that persons diagnosed with avian flu be put in isolation.
Doctors recommend that people get an influenza (flu) shot to reduce the chance of an avian flu virus mixing with a human flu virus, which would create a new virus that may easily spread.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved a vaccine to protect humans from the avian flu. Experts say the vaccine could be used if the current H5N1 virus starts spreading between people.
The outlook depends on the severity of infection and the type of avian influenza virus that caused it. Death is possible.
Call your health care provider if you develop flu-like symptoms within 10 days of handling infected birds or traveling to an area with a known avian flu outbreak.
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US Food and Drug Administration. FDA Approves First U.S. Vaccine for Humans Against the Avian Influenza Virus H5N1. Rockville, MD: National Press Office; April 17, 2007. Release P07-68
Levin S. Zoonoses. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 349.
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Ferri FF. Avian influenza. In: Ferri FF, ed. Ferri’s Clinical Advisor 2010. 1st ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2009:section 1.
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