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Why Bird Flu is a Direct Threat to the United States 
 
by Dr S Banerji October 12, 2005

How doctors can prevent their patients from virus attack

Your primary care physician can monitor changes in your immunity through blood counts of both types of lymphocytes. There are specific serological tests that can be used to detect early stages and small doses of infection. These tests should be ordered when a person has been in physical contact with diseased animals or with people who could be carriers. There is an obvious element of guess-work in deciding which patients need tests for bird flu virus, but a visit to an affected country or a guest from such a place could be sufficient reason to get differential blood counts updated. There is some anti viral medication that can treat animals and people affected by a virus, but there is no proven remedy against the changes of form for which the entire virus world is infamous.

It follows that an annual and comprehensive medical evaluation is a universal requirement. People who do have insurance, and those who travel to countries where people live in close proximity to animals, are particularly vulnerable to attack, though they may not show any obvious symptoms for a long time. There are certain medical conditions such as diabetes and some cancers in which powers of resistance to infection are compromised. A doctor has the skills and experience to be able to detect early signs of viral infection and to manage them in time. Medical records of lymphocyte counts and details of past anti-viral medication are very useful in dealing with cases of fever, muscular weakness and respiratory distress: patients and parents have roles to play in ensuring that doctors have full and accurate access to such information.

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