(Natural News) Avian influenza, or bird flu as its commonly known, is a viral infection that was restricted to birds, particularly chickens, until 1997, when the first human patients were diagnosed in Hong Kong with the H5N1 strain.
Now the agriculture ministry in France has announced an outbreak of a different strain of bird flu, the H5N8 strain, in a poultry-producing region of the country, and has ordered that all 600,000 remaining ducks be slaughtered immediately. More than 300 farms have been affected by the latest outbreak, most in the foie gras-producing region of Landes. A previous culling attempt failed to stop the spread of the disease, and Agriculture Minister Stephane Le Foll explained on France Bleu Radio that this was because the sickness is spreading at a faster than expected rate. He emphasized the need for measures to ensure more secure transportation of poultry and the need to limit their mobility.
The international media is reporting that the H5N8 strain cannot be transmitted to humans and is not harmful, but this is not entirely true. (RELATED: It really isn’t unusual for the mainstream media to edit or omit information. Find out what else they’re hiding at MediaFactWatch.com)
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), though it is technically correct that humans have not yet been infected with this particular strain of bird flu, there is still a chance they could be. Their website notes: “Human infection with the A(H5N8) virus cannot be excluded, although the likelihood is low, based on the limited information obtained to date. It should be noted that human infection with A(H5N6) of related clade 18.104.22.168 has already occurred. WHO will re-assess the risk associated with the virus when more information is available.” [Emphasis added]
The organization goes on to note that while the transmission of A(H5) viruses from birds to humans is rare, it can occur in those exposed to the birds or their environments. Since 2014, 14 cases of human infection with the H5N6 strain have been reported, with six being fatal.
Though the object of this article is not to create panic, it is always good to be aware of the facts and to be proactive in avoiding illnesses wherever possible. With that in mind, the WHO encourages those who are at higher risk of infection (those who work directly with poultry) to avoid contact with sick animals; report any that are found sick or dead to the relevant authorities; wash hands properly and regularly, and to maintain good hygiene and food handling practices.
There are no travel advisories or warnings about travel in France, but some good common sense things to do for those traveling there at the moment would be to avoid open air markets (in the affected region) and to ensure that poultry and eggs are not undercooked.
There are no truly effective conventional treatments for bird flu, but there are some natural measures we can take to build immunity and help prevent not just bird flu, but many other viral illnesses, too.
In a previous article, Natural News writer J.B. Bardot noted several of these, including:
Astragalus: This immune-boosting herb has been used for centuries in China, and helps to build disease-fighting blood cells that help us ward off disease.
Echinacea: Most of us have tried echinacea for the flu or a cold at some point, but you might not be aware that it is also a blood purifier and general immune booster that strengthens the whole body. For the greatest effect, echinacea should be taken in liquid form.
Garlic: Used for centuries in China for its anti-viral and antibiotic properties, garlic is a potent immune booster, especially when crushed and eaten raw or made into a tea.
Turmeric: Curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, is a potent anti-inflammatory that works directly to counteract the inflammatory agents that are heightened during an attack of bird flu.
For more potent natural medicines in the fight against bird flu, see the original Natural News article here.