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Thursday, March 23, 2006

Avian Bird Flu News

I know most of you have been following the spread of the bird flu as it creeps and leaps across countries and continents and heads towards America. The whole idea of a pandemic of any sort is scary and I cannot begin to imagine how it would affect our world. Well...maybe I can and unfortunately I have a vivid imagination, so it isn't pretty.

A couple of days ago, I ran across a website FamilyFluBlog. This looks to be a great resource of flu information. I highly recommend bookmarking it.

Then today I read an article at the Discovery Channel that helps to explain why so far, the avian flu isn't passing from human to human and how this good news may mean the health officials have more time to make preparations in case the virus does mutate.

Apparently, viruses have spikes on them and our cells have receptacles. But the spikes have to fit the receptors (much like putting an electrical plug in an outlet). The receptors that will 'accept' the bird flu spike are deep in the lungs and are not where they can be coughed or sneezed out. Whereas the 'regular' flu receptors are in the nose, throat and top of the lungs so when you cough and sneeze, you send them flying through the air. This is good news and means the virus has to go through some serious mutation to be spread from human to human.

However, and I found this information out from FamilyFluBlog, if you feed birds in your yard, there is some risk of contacting the bird flu from the avian flu once it reaches our shores. It can be carried into the house on the paws of your pets (as they tramp through the bird droppings in the yard) and it can be contacted by you when refilling the feeders. Be sure to be aware of these possibilities. I love feeding the birds, but I also have cats that go in and out. And I may have to rethink this situation. The bird flu apparently can survive for a good amount of time in bird droppings before dying. Remember, being informed can help with prevention!

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