Pharmacy Clinical Pearl of the Day: Bird Flu (Avian Influenza)

Symptoms of bird flu include cough, fever, sore throat, muscle aches, headache, and shortness of breath.

Clinical Pearl of the Day: Bird flu (avian influenza)

Bird flu is caused by a type of influenza virus that rarely infects humans.

Insight:

  • More than a dozen types of bird flu have been identified, including the 2 strains that have most recently infected humans—H5N1 and H7N9. When bird flu does strike humans, it can be deadly.
  • Outbreaks of bird flu have occurred in Asia, Africa, North America, and parts of Europe.
  • Symptoms include cough, fever, sore throat, muscle aches, headache, and shortness of breath.
  • Influenza A (H5N1) vaccine is used for active immunization to prevent disease caused by the influenza A virus H5N1 subtype in patients over 6 months of age at increased risk of exposure.
  • Influenza A (H5N1) vaccine is available under the brand name Audenz.
  • Many influenza viruses have become resistant to the effects of a category of antiviral drugs that include amantadine and rimantadine (Flumadine).
  • Health officials recommend the use of oseltamivir (Tamiflu) or, if oseltamivir can't be used, zanamivir (Relenza). These drugs must be taken within 2 days after the appearance of symptoms.

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