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Health news: H5N1 Bird Flu or Avian Flu takes another life with virus mutating

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There is a relatively new strain of the flu virus circulating called H5N1 in North America. This strain has also been referred to as the “Bird Flu” virus or the “Avian Flu” virus as if the “Swine Flu” virus isn’t bad enough.

There has been one death due to the H5N1 flu strain. It has been confirmed that this new bird flu is the first human case that has occurred in North America. According to a health report on Jan. 8 by CTV News a resident of Alberta traveled to China in Dec. and returned to Alberta feeling quite ill, was hospitalized, diagnosed with H5N1 and passed away on Jan. 3. Health officials say the virus can mutate and transfer from person-to-person but is more commonly contracted by touching infected birds.

Currently the H5N1 flu strain is spreading and being monitored closely by health officials in all areas of the globe. There have been cases of people coming down with this new strain in Vietnam, Cambodia, China and Alberta, Canada.

Scientists, health officials and doctors are alarmed with this new strain since it has a sixty percent chance of killing a person who has been infected by it. This is cause for alarm and poses a public health threat to the people in the United States and the rest of the world. Between 2003 and 2013 there have been 648 confirmed cases of this infection within fifteen countries that lead to approximately 384 deaths.

Right now the CDC doesn’t suspect an epidemic of the H5N1 virus. Most cases have occurred from direct contact with infected poultry or wild birds. The spread of this new stain can be spread from person-to-person but is quite rare.

The H5N1 virus affects a person’s respiratory tract. It forms deep in the lungs when a person gets infected. Anyone who has been infected by this strain can develop complications and contract severe pneumonia that can lead to death.

Currently the death in Alberta is an isolated case. Health officials are still being diligent about keeping up with the way this strain of flu functions. Since the first death happened after a trip to China, Canadian health officials are working closely with the Chinese health authorities regarding this particular case. Since this virus can mutate and transfer between humans they want to study the circumstances and virus before it becomes a serious public health issue.

Stay informed and aware of influenza flu information!

© 2014 Beverly Mucha / All Rights Reserved

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