SARS and bird-flu.

  1. Can someone post the difference (if any) between SARS and 'Bird-Flu'? I keep hearing/reading blips about 'bird-flu' being more virulent and contageous than SARS?

    And does anyone know of progress in a vaccine?
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    About Dinith88

    Joined: Jul '03; Posts: 748; Likes: 307
    CCU/ICU
    Specialty: 15 year(s) of experience in CCU/CVU/ICU

    8 Comments

  3. by   Salty1
    Quote from Dinith88
    Can someone post the difference (if any) between SARS and 'Bird-Flu'? I keep hearing/reading blips about 'bird-flu' being more virulent and contageous than SARS?

    And does anyone know of progress in a vaccine?
    Reference is made to the following site which should answer all your questions: http://www.cdc.gov/flu
  4. by   Sharon
    A quick response is SARS mutated from a specific avian flu and there are thousands of avian influenzas.
    Last edit by Sharon on Jan 6, '05
  5. by   MaleRN2B
    I'm not a nurse but a biologist and my understanding is that avian influenza is the pathogen and SARS is how it presents itself. Apologies if I appear ignorant on the subject but it is of interest to me. I once thought about veterinary school and researching animal vectors of disease transmission. I suppose there are also other agents that can cause SARS.

    MJ
  6. by   oramar
    I think the pathogen that caused SARS was a coronavirus. This virus belongs to a large group that can cause mild cold like symptoms or be very serious. The new Avian flu that has so many so fearful is a member of the influenza A group. I think it is a little different than a coronavirus. The thing is that symptomatically they manisfest themselves all most the same way and are hard to tell apart.
  7. by   NurseFirst
    Quote from oramar
    I think the pathogen that caused SARS was a coronavirus. This virus belongs to a large group that can cause mild cold like symptoms or be very serious. The new Avian flu that has so many so fearful is a member of the influenza A group. I think it is a little different than a coronavirus. The thing is that symptomatically they manisfest themselves all most the same way and are hard to tell apart.
    Fortunately, they don't think that SARS is as virulent as they thought before. Apparently many people got "light" cases of SARS, so light that they didn't seek treatment; consequently, the people who did seek treatment were those who were very very sick and died, skewing the statistics.

    I'm not sure what the relationship between SARS and Avian or bird flu is, but the New England Journal of Medicine had some pretty scary articles about it a few months ago. I don't remember everything, but a couple of the issues are how much "herd" resistance there would be to Avian flu (none) and whether there is person-to-person transmission (could mutate to do that, and might not be too difficult a transition...)

    BTW -- if you have never read "Hot Zone", I highly recommend it -- About a real outbreak of Marburg/Ebola near Washington D.C.

    NurseFirst
  8. by   suzanne4
    Having lived in the "Bird Flu area"----it is much scarier. It can be transmitted by birds, which we know fly around and stop off anyplace. They had quite a few deaths of animals at zoos in Thailand because of this, as well as some animals being fed raw infected chicken...............

    Most that have died were children that lived on chicken farms, and used to play outside barefoot, stepping in chicken poop.............But the problem now is that there have been human to human transmissions and they are concerned that the virus will mutate and become more readily transmitted between humans. If so, it will cause a huge pan-epidemic, especially with the increases populations in the Asian part of the world............
  9. by   redKoala
    I had to do a bit of research for a friend recently on exactly this topic - I hope this isn't too long but I've summarised it below and included the links I used.

    Both bird flu and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) are respiratory diseases.

    Both diseases are zoonoses, meaning they originate in animals but are transferred to humans.

    SARS and bird flu are very different.

    Bird flu is caused by influenza viruses, similar to those that cause human flu. At least three of the great flu pandemics of the 20th century started as bird flu.

    Bird flu outbreaks are not uncommon. Usually, however, they do not affect humans. (only birds).

    Studies suggest that the prescription medicines approved for human flu viruses would work in preventing bird flu infection in humans. However, these medications may not always work.

    In contrast, SARS is caused by a previously unknown type of 'coronavirus'; the same family of viruses that causes the common cold.

    The SARS virus is highly dangerous to humans, whereas at present, the bird flu viruses are not.

    There is no vaccine for SARS. There is also no specific antiviral treatment designed to treat Sars...a cocktail of antivirals and antibiotics appears to be beneficial if treatment is started early.

    The danger in the bird flu viruses, that have been responsible for killing thousands of birds, is that it may cross over into humans , with similiar results for the human population.

    Where bird flu has entered the human population in recent times the mortality rates have been as high as 50%. These outbreaks have been limited to people who have close contact with farm birds etc.

    There have been at least three flu pandemics in the 20th century that were attributed to bird flu -

    1918 - Known as the Spanish flu - It is estimated that approximately 20 to 40 percent of the worldwide population became ill and that over 20 million people died.

    1957 - Known as the Asian flu - Although the Asian flu pandemic was not as devastating as the Spanish flu, about 69,800 people in the U.S. died.

    1968 - Known as the Hong Kong flu - The number of deaths between September 1968 and March 1969 for this pandemic was 33,800, making it the mildest pandemic in the 20th century.

    Here are some links -

    www.scidev.net/ms/bird_flu/index.cfm?pageid=377
    www.scidev.net/ms/bird_flu/index.cfm?pageid=377
    http://www.cdc.gov/flu/avian/
    http://www.geocities.com/disease_sar...treatment.html
    http://www.sarsreference.com/
    http://www.mydna.com/health/flu/library/pandemics.html

    Information from some sites provides slightly different information to that provided above - see www.cdc.gov/
    Last edit by redKoala on Jun 8, '05 : Reason: Spelling correction
  10. by   MaleRN2B
    That's interesting information. Do you remember the swine flu in the 70s? It's another one that can jump species and infect humans.

    Marc

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