Thesis: Virus H5N1 Bird Flu

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¶ … H5n1

Avian Influenza

Much like other communicable diseases, the H5N1 Avian influenza virus, also known as bird flu, has a long history steeped in exploration, discovery and revelation, dating back more than one hundred years to 1878 in the country of Italy, where poultry farmers were struck with an epidemic then called "Fowl Plague." Some fifty years later, this type of avian flu virus ended up in the United States, either by being transmitted through immigrants from Italy and elsewhere in Europe or by the importing of virus-infected birds like chickens from Italy and the greater Mediterranean area ("History of Avian Flu," Internet). In 1955, this "Fowl Plague" was quickly identified as being the transmitter for this type of influenza which generally affects all domesticated animals and especially birds. Technically, this type of flu is known as Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza a virus and belongs to a subtype known as H5 ("History of Avian Flu," Internet).

Within the last ten years or so, the H5N1 flu virus has managed to spread to all regions of the world, particularly to Asian nations like China, Japan, and South Korea, and to European nations like Germany, Belgium, and the Netherlands, where a serious outbreak of the H5N1 virus occurred in 2003. The H5N1 virus has also been reported in Central and South America, Mexico, the Middle East and even Australia. Obviously, this type of influenza holds the potential to greatly affect not only a country's population but also its economy via destroying poultry industries which have often been forced to slaughter "millions of chickens, geese and turkeys to prevent further transmission" of this particular virus ("History of Avian Flu," Internet).

The H5N1 virus has also been responsible for a number of serious outbreaks in recent years, especially in Asia, where the poultry industry serves tens of millions of Chinese on a daily basis. Although the transmission of this subtype of flu virus from animals to humans is relatively rare as compared to other influenza strains, the World Health Organization is now quite concerned "about the Avian virus's potential to swap genes with a common flu virus," thus creating a deadly and perhaps untreatable form of the illness which could spread globally in the shape of a pandemic ("History of Avian Flu," Internet).

As a member of the virus family Orthomyxoviridae, genus Influenzavirus a, B, the H5N1 virus is generally transmitted through two basic ways -- first, by inhaling infected droplets from a virus carrier (i.e., an animal, bird or human) which has been shown to be the most common transmission mode and by direct physical contact with the droplets via the environment or human-to-human. Once exposed, the virus quickly infects the upper respiratory system, the sinuses, or both areas simultaneously with an incubation period ranging from two days and upwards to eight days or longer, depending on the amount of exposure and the type of transmittal (Beigel, et al., 1376).

As to symptoms associated with the H5N1 virus, the infected person will first experience a high fever and disturbances linked to the lower respiratory tract, much like symptoms associated with more common types of flu. Along with these symptoms, there may also be vomiting, diarrhea, severe abdominal pain and perhaps bleeding from the nose and gums, although these symptoms are rather rare in most persons. Of course, because of various immune system responses to the H5N1 virus, some persons may not experience much discomfort and may only complain of a headache or infrequent diarrhea.

In relation to the pathogenesis/physical structure of the H5N1 influenza virus, Megan Talkington describes this as being composed of what is known as cleavable hemagglutinin, a type of antibody that agglutinates human red blood cells and is heterologous (47). This virus also contains a polymerase basic protein 2 which helps with replication and a substitution in "nonstructural protein 1 that confers increased resistance to inhibition by interferons" and other biological factors (Beigel, et al., 1378). Regarding patterns of viral replication with the H5N1 virus, this area is currently under exploration by researchers and geneticists but what is known is that the virus's replication process is… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Virus H5N1 Bird Flu.  (2009, September 25).  Retrieved December 7, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/virus-h5n1-bird-flu/6521

MLA Format

"Virus H5N1 Bird Flu."  25 September 2009.  Web.  7 December 2019. <https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/virus-h5n1-bird-flu/6521>.

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"Virus H5N1 Bird Flu."  Essaytown.com.  September 25, 2009.  Accessed December 7, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/virus-h5n1-bird-flu/6521.