Bird Flu Essay

Bird Flu Essay.

In this paper I am going to talked about what is the bird flu, how do humans get the bird flu, how can people catch the bird flu from another person, has the bird flu been seen in the United States, what are the signs and symptoms of the bird flu in humans and is there a bird flu vaccine and treatment. Bird flu, or avian influenza, is a viral infection spread from bird to bird. Currently, a particularly deadly strain of bird flu (H5N1) continues to spread among poultry in Egypt and in certain parts of Asia.

Technically, H5N1 is a highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) virus. It is deadly to most, but not all birds, and it is deadly to humans and to other mammals that catch the virus from the birds. Since the first human case in 1997, H5N1 has killed nearly 60% of the people who have been infected, but unlike human flu bugs, H5N1 bird flu does not spread easily from person to person.

The very few cases of human-to-human transmission have been among people with exceptionally close contact, such as a mother who caught the virus while caring for her sick infant.

Migrating water birds, especially wild ducks are the natural carriers of bird flu viruses. It is suspected that infection can spread from wild birds to domestic poultry. The disease has spread to wild birds, pigs, and even to donkeys, it will be hard, if not impossible, to get rid of. As of 2011, the disease was well established in six nations: Bangladesh, China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, and Vietnam (What Is Bird Flu, 2012). People catch the bird flu by close contact with birds or bird droppings. Some people have caught H5N1 from cleaning or plucking infected birds. In China, there have been reports of infection via inhalation of aerosolized materials in live bird markets. It is also possible that some people were infected after swimming or bathing in water contaminated with the droppings of infected birds, and some infections have occurred in people who handle fighting cocks. People do not catch the virus from eating fully cooked chicken or eggs.

There have been a few cases where one infected person caught the bird flu virus from another person, but only after close personal contact. So far, there has been no sustained human-to-human spread of H5N1 (What Is Bird Flu, 2012). As long as the bird flu virus does not change into a human flu virus, it won’t spread far in between people. Sometimes, after close personal contact a person who gets bird flu does infect another person. In Indonesia in 2006, bird flu spread to eight members of one family, seven of them died. It’s not clear exactly how this happened. Family members likely had similar contacts with infected birds.

They may also have shared genes that made them particularly susceptible to the virus. However, casual contact does not seem to be involved.H5N1 bird flu has never been detected in the United States. Various strains of bird flu pop up in the United States poultry from time to time. When they do, all affected poultry flocks are discarded. For example, in 2004 a highly dangerous bird flu strain appeared in a Texas chicken flock. The outbreak involved an H5N2 virus (not the H5N1 bird flu). By April 2004, the outbreak had been eradicated. No human infections were detected (What Is Bird Flu, 2012). Bird flu symptoms in people can vary. Symptoms may start out as normal flu-like symptom.

This could progressively get worse and become a severe respiratory disease that can be fatal. In February 2005, researchers in Vietnam reported human cases of bird flu in which the virus infected the brain and digestive tract of two children, both children died. These cases make it clear that bird flu in humans may not always look like typical cases of the flu. No human cases of bird flu have been seen in the United States or North America. As a precaution, the CDC is asking people who have traveled to East Asia to see a doctor if they develop flu-like symptoms. If so, it is important to tell the doctor about having visited these areas so the proper tests can be done (What Is Bird Flu, 2012).

On April 17, 2007, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced its approval of the first vaccine to prevent human infection with one strain of the bird flu. The vaccine has been purchased by the United States federal government to be distributed by public health officials if needed. This vaccine will not be made commercially available to the general public. Other bird flu vaccines are being developed by other companies, and the World Health Organization (WHO) has a stockpile of the vaccine. They have plans to quickly produce more if needed. When given along with immunity-boosting agents called adjuvants, experimental H5N1 vaccines offer good cross-protection against different H5N1 variants, and several companies are working on universal flu vaccines and antivirals that would protect against all known strains of influenza (What Is Bird Flu, 2012).

The drug Tamiflu and Relenza used for the flu virus should work against bird flu, although more studies are needed. These drugs must be given soon after symptoms appear. Unfortunately, H5N1 in humans can be a severe illness requiring hospitalization, isolation, and or intensive care (What Is Bird Flu, 2012). In conclusion I talked about what is the bird flu, how humans can be infected with the bird flu, how the bird flu can be passed from one persona to another person, I talked about the bird flu in the United States, what are the symptoms of bird flu in humans, and is there a vaccine or a treatment for the bird flu. As well as the known drugs currently being used to treat the bird flu if any cases happen to come up.


What is bird flu? (2012). Retrieved from

Bird Flu Essay

Cultural Perspectives on Vaccination Essay

Cultural Perspectives on Vaccination Essay.

The debate is led by anti-vaccinators who oppose vaccinations on ethical, political, religious and medical safety grounds. On the other hand, pro-vaccinators argue that the health benefits of vaccines outweigh the very few adverse effects that they have, and that vaccines have been largely advantageous to public health.

Main points of contention:

Pro-vaccinators (usually health care specialists, microbiologists, governments, pharmaceutical companies) Vaccinations are an effective and cost-saving tool for disease prevention. Positive externality attached to the use of vaccinations – overall public health is positively affected Side-effects are infrequent and the most common ones are minor.

Anti-vaccinators (some conservative Islamic and Christian groups, usually libertarians and victims of public panic) Vaccines are ineffective and are used to generate profits for Big Pharma. Mandatory vaccinations interfere with individual and religious freedoms. Vaccines have severe side-effects and can trigger brain disorders.

Points in favor of vaccines

The effectiveness of vaccines has been globally verified. Scientific research confirms the efficiency of all vaccines administered to the public, including the vaccines for measles1, influenza2 and pneumococcal disease3, 4.

Protection against seasonal flu, chicken pox, cervical cancer, whooping cough, among other diseases5

Vaccines led to the eradication of small pox6.

Global reduction of polio (number of cases has shrunk by over 99% since 1988)7, measles (deaths have reduced by 78%)8, tetanus (92% reduction in global cases since 1980s)9 Most side effects caused by vaccines are minor, such as low-grade fever10. In the US, vaccines are introduced to the public after years of thorough testing and are monitored closely after10.

Points against vaccines and rebuttals

Vaccines are a ploy by Big Pharma to generate profits by marketing needless vaccines. All companies are motivated by profits, including McDonalds and Apple Inc. Pharmaceutical companies are encouraged by public authorities toward the production of vaccines due to the resultant overall public health savings, despite the following: Medicines for chronic diseases are more profitable.

Production of vaccines is a high-risk venture since it involves huge capital investment for research. Moreover, vaccine production, safety and marketing activities are tightly controlled by authorities11. Foreign governments repeatedly push for lower costs.

Although the vaccine industry has grown multifold over the past years and is generally profitable, pharmaceutical companies should not be blamed for misdirection when the health advantages of vaccines have been verified by academia and are widely acknowledged. Exemptions on religious and philosophical basis should be permitted. The religious and philosophical views of a group can be overlooked to protect the health of an entire population, since unvaccinated people create a level of risk for themselves and for the rest of the population12. The Netherlands is at risk of a measles outbreak in the orthodox Protestant group, and the consequent transmission of measles to the general population, as shown by a recent study13. Mandatory vaccines infringe upon individual freedoms.

Vaccines directly affect the well-being of the people around, and are thus, not as private a decision as one would assume. Positive externalities are usually ignored by people while making decisions. Some people claim that taxes are unconstitutional. But taxes, like vaccines, are a mutual responsibility and work for the common good. Vaccinations lead to life-threatening side effects.

The most common side effects of vaccinations are minor, like low-grade fever or soreness near the injection site10. Scientific research has disproved the popular claims that vaccines cause SIDS14 or brain disorders like autism15, 16. The chances of complications from diseases are much higher than the chances of complications from vaccines. Thimerosal, a preservative used in vaccines, and the MMR vaccine cause autism. Research shows no cause-and-effect relationship between autism and thimerosal17, or autism and the usage of MMR vaccine15, 16. The usage of thimerosal has only minor side-effects, like swelling near the injection site18, and the most common side effect due to the administration of the MMR vaccine is low-grade fever10. Thimerosal was taken out of vaccines for children in 2001 only as a preemptive measure. Even then, autism rates have only grown18.

Nearly all scientists whose researches concluded a positive correlation between vaccines and autism retracted their researches. Vaccines must be repeated and do not provide long-lasting protection. One size neither fits all humans nor all diseases.

MMR vaccination does, in most cases, provide life-long protection. Other viruses mutate fast and immunizations must be renewed to fight the virus. Repetitive vaccinations are a small cost to pay in the face of deadly diseases. Even vaccinated children might contract diseases.

Vaccinations are 90-99% effective in preventing diseases among children19. These diseases generally manifest with milder symptoms and less severe complications. Some children do not respond to vaccines and some are not immunized due to compromised immune systems or allergies. Herd immunity must be achieved in order to protect the unimmunized population. Whooping cough epidemic despite the availability of vaccinations Effectiveness of vaccine relies on herd immunity

Vaccination rates have been dropping due to anti-vaccination movements and the subsequent public panic. Exemptions against vaccines have doubled since 199720. States which make exemptions easily available to parents have more cases21. Most cases of whooping cough are among infants too young to be vaccinated. Highly-publicized cases of brain damage alleged to have been caused by the whooping cough vaccine created public panic in Great Britain which caused a drop in immunization rates and thus, epidemics of the disease22, 23. Most complications reported were not associated with the vaccination22. Better hygiene and sanitation in the recent years is the reason for the falling rates of diseases. Better hygiene does prevent the spread of diseases.

However, disease-causing germs stick around, sometimes in our bodies. They can also be spread by means such as sexual contact or sneezing, and vaccinations teach our bodies how to fight diseases once the germs attack our bodies. Measles, like other diseases, saw a permanent drop in 1962, after its vaccine was licensed24. Evidently, vaccines have a direct impact on disease control. The cases of haemophilus influenzae in children started declining a few years ago, since the introduction of the vaccine for children, while the levels of sanitation and hygiene have been practically unchanged since 199023. The number of global cases for vaccine-preventable diseases has been dwindling as the vaccinated population has been growing. India is polio-free now due to country-wide vaccination efforts (in modern times) to eradicate the disease25. Some doctors and scientists stand against vaccination.

A vast majority of doctors, including medical experts at CDC, WHO as well as non-governmental organizations like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, support the administration of vaccines. It is important to consider the religious and philosophical views of these doctors. Sometimes, financial gains might be involved26.

Combination vaccinations overburden the immune systems of babies. Children, in fact, receive fewer antigens today than they did in the past. There is no evidence to support this hypothesis. Combination vaccinations simply reduce the number of vaccines administered to babies.

Cultural Perspectives on Vaccination Essay