Bird flu is one of the influenza viruses which may cause pandemics. The virus may spread on a worldwide scale and it may affect a large proportion of the population. Some of these viruses are considered more deadly than others. A recent influenza pandemic has been recorded in 2009 but there have been more significant pandemics of influenza in the past some of which include the Spanish flu, the Spanish flu was the pandemic that killed most people in comparison to any other influenza pandemics. It is estimated that there have been about three influenza pandemics in the last 300 years. The Spanish flu occurred in the beginning of the 20th century and it was devastating for the European continent and the world in general.
Bird flu on the other hand, like any other influenza viruses, can spread very quickly from animal to animal and then to people. The bird flu is caused by the AH5N1 influenza virus and it is also referred to as the 'avian flu'. The bird flu pandemic started in Asian and rapidly spread to other continents, reaching Europe and America. It was not as devastating as the Spanish flu but it caused a significant number of deaths among individuals and especially among birds since every time the virus was detected, the bird carrying the disease and those that were in contact with it were killed. After the outburst of the avian flu in 2006 and 2007, the farmed birds were being held in check with the help of vaccination. The gravity of the situation was however reduced in time.
In 2009 however, another type of influenza spread globally, which was known as the 'swine flu'. Its impact on the world population was even less worrisome than the pandemics in the past. However, vaccination was available quite quickly and this might have been the reason why the swine flu did not kill too many people.
Swine flu vaccines have raised a bit of controversy, so much so that people have looked for alternative medications such as Tamiflu (oseltamivir). A generic version of Tamiflu is made by Cipla. However, before you decide to buy Tamiflu and at the same place, know that oseltamivir is no substitute for the swine flu vaccine. read more...