There has been serious research done on Bird Flu in recent years, since the disease is affecting more people in different parts of the world. A brief history of the disease and how it affects humans can help scientists and citizens to better understand how to treat and avoid bird flu.The first traces of bird flu were discovered in the 1800s, when chickens in Italy were falling ill to a condition known as the fowl plague in 1878. Almost one hundred years later, in 1955, it was discovered that the fowl plague was an influenza virus, which meant that the virus could be passed on to humans. It was also determined that the fowl plague was a type A virus, which means it can affect domestic animals, such as birds and swine, and can cause an epidemic in humans.
The main way that bird flu or influenza is spread is through human contact, and symptoms have included fever, fatigue, sore throat, and dry coughing. The fact that it is so easy to spread the bird flu has made for many cases of the disease to be discovered over the years in several parts of the country.
In more recent years, the bird flu has been spread directly from birds to humans; in Hong Kong, this issue became prevalent, when 18 people were infected with the virus, and 6 of them died after being hospitalized in 1997. Two years later, in 1999, two children fell ill with bird flu, but both children recovered. It was confirmed that the children’s consumption of chicken was directly related to their contracting of the virus.
In the Netherlands, individuals and families who worked for poultry companies were tested for the bird flu, and more than 80 cases were reported in 2003. In this case, both bird to human and human to human contact was reported as the cause for the outbreak; one person died during this particular outbreak, and most of the individuals affected by the disease experienced eye infections and upper respiratory symptoms.
Bird flu is an epidemic that is being compared to some of the worst disease outbreaks in history, including Spanish flu and Asian flu. The Spanish flu occurred in 1918 and 1919, and caused the most from the flu; 500,000 people died in the United States alone, and 20 to 50 million people died in other parts of the world combined. Years later, in 1957 and 1958, the Asian flu plagued the world, causing 70,000 deaths in the United States.
In the past couple of years, the bird flu has caused sickness in individuals in Hong Kong and several parts of Europe, and many children have been reported to have bird flu. The virus is becoming an ever-growing concern in the United States, and doctors are continuing to confirm that certain health habits will help to significantly decrease the chances of bird flu spreading, such as staying home from work when sick, covering the mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing, and keeping hands clean both on and off the job.