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Journal of Medical Sciences
Year: 2013  |  Volume: 13  |  Issue: 5  |  Page No.: 301 - 315

Avian/Bird Flu Virus: Poultry Pathogen Having Zoonotic and Pandemic Threats: A Review

Kuldeep Dhama, Sandip Chakraborty, Ruchi Tiwari, Amit Kumar, Anu Rahal, Shyma K. Latheef, Mohd Yaqoob Wani and Sanjay Kapoor    

Abstract: Avian/Bird flu, caused by Avian Influenza Virus (AIV) belonging to Orthomyxoviridae family, is the most fearful viral disease of birds. H5N1 subtype of AIV is of major concern for poultry as well as for humans due to its high economical impacts and zoonotic concerns. During the past ten years, the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) H5N1 subtype alone has affected more than 60 countries of the world. Domestic poultry is mostly affected by the disease episodes and outbreaks. Wild and migratory birds are the AIV reservoirs wherein H5N1 is found to be lethal. Major antigenic changes in Haemagglutinin (HA) or Neuraminidase (NA) result in periodic pandemics. Pigs can act as mixing vessel. The bird flu virus if gets the capability of transmitting from human to human can trigger a pandemic claiming millions of lives. A wide variety of serological tests and molecular tools have greatly aided in the diagnosis of avian flu. Disease management for the prevention of bird flu outbreaks including mass awareness and pandemic preparedness following World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines is of utmost importance. Interesting approaches of HPAI control are development of universal influenza virus vaccines and universal antibodies-based flu therapies. Vaccination using inactivated and recombinant vaccines is the common strategy adopted in different parts of the globe. Development of new generation vaccines is quiet noteworthy. Tamiflu is the drug of choice. Herbal therapy is gaining much attention to control disease in humans. All these aspects of the bird flu virus have been discussed vividly in the present review.

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