Before you go off buying those face masks and setting up temperature monitors by your front door, it’s best to learn a little more about the influenza outbreaks that was been making the airwaves recently. As most people might not notice, there are things that we should be doing and things we shouldn’t be doing.
Understanding the Outbreak
When talking about the Influenza outbreak, a firm understanding the terms associated with it spell the difference between a well-informed citizen and a mindless, panicking drone.
Primarily, the word “influenza” is closely associated with the word “flu”. But this is different from the regular flus that hit after sleeping with your back against the AC. Influenza is a virus. And take note, we haven’t even attached the word “avian” to it. There’ll be more about that later.
Influenza mainly targets the respiratory systems of organic beings. Humans aren’t just at risk here. Animals can also catch the flu and becomes carriers of the virus. When consumed, that’s when the problems begin.
Depending on the carrier of the virus, Influenza can change forms. The one that’s currently in the news is known as Avian Influenza. That means if mainly affects birds. And as we all know, humans consume certain species of birds. We also keep birds as pets. This is where most of the scare is coming from. And to say that this is an outbreak means that the virus has already contaminated a large number of hosts over a short period of time. That means the rate at which the virus is spreading is becoming difficult to control.
But that doesn’t necessarily mean that all is lost for the Avian population. Understanding what risks this outbreak poses is the best way to prepare for this outbreak properly.
What’s NOT at Risk
First and foremost, the American food supply is not affected. The United States prides itself as having some of the best detection strategies in the market as of now. To protect the American consumer, the government has a variety of methods such as constant education of the public as well as producers, advanced detection systems and rewards systems to encourage producers to send in reports if the disease has already made its way to their produce.
That means avoiding chicken and other birds is silly. Your local market-place veterans can still guarantee the safest birds for consumption. You don’t necessarily have to stop eating chicken altogether. And if you actually have doubts about the birds you consume, you can ask your local produce provider to give you extra assurance that their stock is fresh and healthy.
The second thing that is not at risk is humans. So far, there haven’t been any reports of human infections permeating the news as of now. This is not because the government is hiding something to contain the issue. This is because there isn’t any threat present at the moment. Although there is no doubt that this is a dangerous virus, the risk to humans is low because of the preventive measures that the government takes to keep the problem under control.
What Is at Risk
Remember that the Avian Influenza is a virus that mainly affects birds. You don’t have to necessarily consume the birds in order to catch the virus if they have it. And the chances of birds passing the virus among each other increases if your poultry or pets interact with wild birds.
You may be able to get safe, copped up poultry from the market with the help of the government, but one thing that you have to monitor as a citizen are your personal birds. Are they sick, have a flock of wild birds visited your pet?
Are you into the livestock business? When was the last time you inspected your area? Are your livestock exposed to wide, open spaces wherein they could socialize with other birds?
On top of making sure that your birds are safe from other carriers, it is also your duty to report strange deaths. Did they just drop dead? Have they been wheezing for a few days? When was the last time you took your pet to the vet? These are the best ways to make sure that you keep Influenza under control.
Panic or Order?
Another thing to consider is the fact that there are flu vaccinations available to the public. Websites like this provide the concerned public with flu shot options at Costco and CVS that are affordable and accessible.
These options are there to provide peace of mind during these times of uncertain panic. Yes, there is an outbreak but humans are not necessarily at direct risk. It’s the birds that are at risk here. With proper vaccination and education, a lot of panic can be avoided.