Much research has been carried out to better understand the threat posed by the pigeon (feral and domesticated) and research is ongoing in many parts of the world, particularly in those countries worst affected. A thorough scientific research programme was undertaken following the outbreak of the highly pathogenic strain H5N2 in the north-eastern United States (in 1983/4) to assess the potential for wild birds to spread disease amongst local farms. The following species were included in this survey:
- Wild and free-flying domestic ducks and geese
- Wild or free-flying domestic birds (including pigeons)
- Dead or sick birds within the quarantine area
Attempts to isolate the virus were conducted on a sample of 4,132 birds, of which 473 were pigeons, and of this number 92.6% were collected from infected farms. A further 81 feet, taken from dead pigeons, were also assessed for the purposes of the research - this is because pigeons commonly feed on agricultural sites and by walking in infected faecal matter the birds could potentially pass on the disease. In order to assess the sample, tracheal (throat) and vent (anus) swabs were taken from each bird. None of the 4,132 birds collected tested positive for the H5N2 strain. Blood samples taken from 383 pigeons were also negative for antibodies (antibodies are protective substances that are produced by the defensive network of the body in response to an infection) to avian influenza, an indication that infection by this virus had not occurred in these birds. An additional 50 pigeons, collected from within the quarantine zone, were also negative for the influenza virus. Experimental attempts made to infect pigeons with the highly pathogenic H5N2 strain of avian influenza did not result in either multiplication of the virus or any evidence of antibodies in the blood. The results of all of these studies indicated that pigeons were not infected with avian influenza and did not spread it.
In another outbreak of avian influenza in the USA in 1993 (in the period February to May) blood samples were collected from 17 flocks of pigeons located within the quarantine area for evidence of antibodies to avian influenza. Flock sizes varied from 2000 - 3000 birds and represented a total of between 34,000 and 51,000 birds. Approximately 10 birds per flock were sampled (a total of 160 birds) and in every instance all pigeons tested were negative for antibodies to this avian influenza.
Another study published in 1996 on the susceptibility of pigeons to avian influenza found that groups of pigeons inoculated with two strains of highly pathogenic influenza virus, or two strains of non-pathogenic virus, remained healthy during the 21-day trial period. The sample did not shed virus and did not develop antibodies to this disease - further evidence that pigeons are not a factor in the spread of avian influenza. More recent scientific evidence, from experimental work in 2001/2002, has shown that pigeons infected with the highly pathogenic form of the virus (designated H5N1 of Hong Kong origin) did not develop signs of this disease and did not have detectable changes to the disease in their tissues. Neither was the virus found in their tissues and nor was it re-isolated from swabs of tissues. These findings indicated once again that pigeons (along with starlings, rats and rabbits used in these studies) are largely resistant to infection with this highly pathogenic strain of the virus.
It is quite clear from all the information available that avian influenza continues to be a threat to both humans and birds, but the likelihood of its transmission to humans as a result of contact with the feral pigeon or its faeces is virtually nil. The feral pigeon is reputed to be the ultimate disease-carrier, harbouring the capability to spread a huge variety of diseases to both humans and other birds and animals, but in reality this is a myth. As can be seen from the findings of several research programmes, the feral pigeon is at the bottom of the list of those species that have the potential to spread avian influenza and it is likely that this is the case with most of the other diseases that are commonly associated with the pigeon.
PCRC, Unit 4, Sabre Buildings, Sabre Close, Newton Abbot, Devon, TQ12 6TW
Flu Season 2015: Influenza In US ‘Widespread,’ But Fear May Outpace Threat
Nurses prepare influenza vaccine injections during a flu shot clinic at Dorchester House, a health care clinic, in Boston, Massachusetts, Jan. 12, 2013. Photo: Reuters
With an unforeseen mutation in this year’s dominant influenza virus and a faulty vaccine, 43 states have seen “widespread” transmission of the flu this season, according to the latest report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Flu activity was rampant in 29 states during the final week of December, up from 22 states a week earlier. Twenty-one pediatric deaths have been reported.
The most prevalent virus of the 2014-2015 flu season has been influenza A H3N2, a particularly severe infection responsible for the three deadliest flu seasons since 2000. Health officials, however, said this year's threat was not entirely unexpected. “I don’t think it’s anything we haven’t seen before,” Richard Webby, virology expert with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, told International Business Times. “We know H3N2 dominates a season, we know it tends to be more severe.”
Three out of four of the last 12 flu seasons reached epidemic levels, according to the Associated Press. Several so-called drift viruses – versions of H3N2 that are slightly genetically different from the main virus – have spread this season, meaning Americans have become more susceptible to the flu. “The antibodies that people made last time probably don’t work as well against [the new strain,]” Webby said. “That’s a consequence of the virus changing.”
The outlook varies, depending on the type of myositis.
Idiopathic inflammatory myopathies. With proper treatment, most people with polymyositis or dermatomyositis eventually regain at least some muscle strength. Often, muscle strength returns to normal. Typically, inclusion body myositis does not improve with treatment. However, the illness usually progresses slowly and does not affect a person's lifespan unless complications lead to serious illness, such as pneumonia caused by swallowing or breathing problems. Eventually, some patients need a cane to help them walk. Others require a wheelchair. If a person with dermatomyositis develops cancer, the prognosis may be worse. Medications taken to treat these muscle diseases may cause complications that affect prognosis. For example, serious infections may complicate the use of immune suppressing medications.
Infectious myositis. Once the flu passes, muscle symptoms improve. Treatment usually is effective, although recovery can be slow in people with trichinosis. For pyomyositis, the prognosis is good if the infection is treated promptly. If not, the infection can pass into the bloodstream and spread throughout the body.
Benign acute myositis. Children typically walk normally again within a few days.
Myositis ossificans. The prognosis is very good. If the bony lump does not disappear on its own, your doctor may recommend surgery to remove it.
Drug-induced myositis. The prognosis is very good. In most cases, symptoms subside when the drug is stopped.
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases
National Institutes of Health
1 AMS Circle
Bethesda, MD 20892-3675
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
P.O. Box 5801
Bethesda, MD 20824
American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association (AARDA)
22100 Gratiot Ave.
East Detroit, MI 48021
Muscular Dystrophy Association
3300 E. Sunrise Drive
Tucson, AZ 85718
my hair is always falling out, i have low energy levels, low libido, major mood swings and I'm not even ovulating! Guess the next step is some medication to get me back on track! Hang in there girls!
12) i am also having same problems - depression,mood swings,loss of hair,weight gain. In my case I have developed dermoid and endometrium thickness, PCOD. Even after consulting two or three doctors and taking medicines for one year, things did not improve. Now I have switched to homeopathy and is finding some improvement. As it's just one month since I started taking medicines, I am hoping for some positive results.
11) My first pregnancy resulted in a miscarriage. The doctor monitored my levels with second pregnancy to keep from miscarrying. I also had to take the progesterone with my third pregnancy because levels were actually lower than the doctor wanted.
I now have diabetes and hypothyroidism and after reading the above info I am wondering if my progesterone has something to do with those two health issues.
I have issues that really bring me to a conclusion of PMDD. I am going to make an appointment with my doctor to see if the progesterone has anything to do with my diabetes and hypothyroidism as well as needing to find some help with the symptoms that coincide with PMDD as they are ruining my life!
10) Same case with me. i used to have so much tension and I always had bad moods. I have started taking medicines since last week but still i don't feel much change.
9) I am in the process of being testing for low hormone levels and thyroid dysfunction because, quite tragically, I've lost at least half of my hair in one month! I'm only 32 and feel like I'm having a nightmare!
I tell myself things could be much worse, but dealing with hair drastically, severely, suddenly falling out everywhere is emotionally exhausting. Has anyone else had this? What do I do?
8) I had all these symptoms of depression: panic attacks, hot flashes, insomnia, fuzzy thinking, and I was tired of seeing doctors and them not helping me with my problems.
So they recommended to me this female doctor and she tested my levels of progesterone and i was very low, so now she is treating me my progesterone. I feel a little better now. I have been treated for three months now but I know this medication is going to help me.
7) Because male doctors are often not attuned to female symptoms or concerns. The best help might come from a specialist in bioidentical hormones.
I went to a female specialist who knows exactly the issues women face in menopause and has reversed these to good results with both men and women.
Seek beyond the standard help and you will get better, healthier results. Often the conservative male doctor just wants to put you on depression meds and chemical manufactured hormones. Don't do it!
6) I stopped taking the pill so we could get pregnant and it threw my body off and my periods are not regular, so my doctor did a blood test and said my progesterone levels are very low! Yea! Finally I have a answer. I have a lot of these symptoms and can't wait to feel normal again!
5) Women who have low levels of progesterone often have infertility problems and when they do conceive, they are at a higher risk for miscarriage. You may have low progesterone levels if you have any of these symptoms.
4) We finally tested my levels. I barely produce progesterone. Depression, practically no libido, metabolic basal rate that is lower than normal, hair loss (scalp and eyebrows), mental fog.
A common sign that someone is developing the flu is fever. Fevers caused by this virus can climb as high as 106 degrees F, though this particular type of fever tends to be less severe than other types. Adults also tend to experience lower fever than children when they are infected with the virus. Those infected with this type of flu will also commonly have fatigue and body aches.
2. Respiratory Symptoms
As the fever subsides, cough, runny nose and sore throat will become more common. In some cases, these symptoms can become worse, eventually developing into pneumonia or bronchitis if the symptoms are not treated. In most cases, respiratory symptoms will disappear after a week, though it is possible for the cough to last for several weeks.
3. Stomach Symptoms
Many strains of the condition will cause irritation in the stomach. Because this is so common, this particular type of flue is often referred to as a stomach flu though the virus does not specifically affect the stomach. Stomach symptoms include nausea, loss of appetite or vomiting.
- Bacterial pneumonia. Pneumonia is one of the most common complications that stems from an infection. This virus damages the lungs which can restrict the airways and increase the risk of developing an additional bacterial infection, including pneumonia. Pneumonia is caused by bacteria increasing rapidly in the airways, causing fluid retention, inflammation and swelling of the lungs' air sacs. If the lungs start to fill with fluid, it can make it hard to breath, causing shortness of breath, chest pain, coughing and fever. This is a serious concern for those with chronic illnesses or elderly people.
- Encephalitis. This is a rare condition that is caused by the brain becoming inflamed due to exposure to the influenza virus. This condition is signaled by headaches and fever which will develop into confusion, drowsiness, seizures, loss of consciousness or coma.
- Myositis. Myositis largely impacts children, causing muscle inflammation or tenderness in the legs. This inflammation can make it difficult to move or lead to muscle weakness as well. These symptoms typically last around 1-5 days.
- Reye's syndrome. Some children and adolescents can develop this neurological disease that causes delirium, nausea, vomiting or confusion. In some cases, this syndrome is caused by taking aspirin to help manage influenza symptoms like fever. Talk to your doctor before giving aspirin to an underage patient to make sure it is safe.
- Others. In addition to causing more serious complications, the respiratory symptoms associated with this virus may cause bronchitis, sinus infections or ear infections.
In most cases, there is no need to administer medication to those suffering from the flu. If necessary, antiviral medications such as zanamivir or oseltamivir can be administered to help shorten the duration of the illness or to lower the risk of additional complications developing. Oseltamivir is taken orally and zanamivir is administered with an inhaler like you would use asthma medication. These medications can cause side effects including vomiting. Oseltamivir increases the risk of self-harm or delirium in teenagers.
- Fluids. Drinking plenty of beverages like juice, water and warm soup can help prevent dehydration when suffering from the flu. Make sure you drink enough to keep your urine a pale yellow color.
- Rest. Make sure you get plenty of sleep to encourage your immune system to fight the infection.
- OTC pain killers. Pain relievers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen can help manage the body aches associated with the flu. Aspirin should not be given to teens or children as this increases their risk of Reye's syndrome.
- Flu vaccine. Every year a new flu vaccine is developed that contains the antibodies for the strains of flu anticipated to be prominent that season. These vaccines are commonly administered as a nasal spray or injection.
- Avoiding spreading virus. While there is no way to completely prevent the flu, there are steps you can take to prevent spreading it to others. Wash your hands, scrubbing them for 15 seconds to rid your skin of traces of the virus. Alcohol-based hand sanitizer is also helpful in keeping the skin clean. Cover the mouth and nose when you sneeze, but use a tissue or the inner portion of the arm instead of your hand to avoid getting the virus on your hands where it can be spread. Try to avoid crowded areas like public transportation, child care centers or office buildings during the peak of flu season to avoid coming in contact with the virus.
Dr W J Grobler BVSc.
The name "Cat flu" is misleading because even though cats suffer from a similar disease, the disease is not contracted from cats. The symptoms in dogs are due to intestinal involvement and very unlike flu symptoms. Dry, windy weather sees more cases which occur mostly in puppies, but previously unexposed, unvaccinated adult dogs are also at risk. Even with the best treatment available some animals still don't survive, so vaccination is of paramount importance in the prevention of this terrible disease.
This graph was produced in 2014 from our last 16,000 patients at the Norman Parathyroid Center. Each of these patients had a parathyroid tumor removed from their neck. There are 16 symptoms of hyperparathyroidism (some symptoms listed above are generalized and overlap each other). This graph shows how many symptoms the average patient had (on the vertical y-axis) and what their blood calcium was (on the bottom x-axis). The black dots are the average number of symptoms all patients had at each calcium level. The thin vertical lines are statistical error bars showing that there is some variability. a few patients at every calcium level had zero symptoms, while a few patients at every calcium level had all 16 symptoms. People with higher calcium levels do not have more symptoms. So if your doctor says "your symptoms can't be from hyperparathyroidism because your calcium is not high enough", then you print this graph and educate them. The number of symptoms a patient has is NOT related to how high the calcium level is.
UPDATE: In January 2017 we published the largest study of parathyroid patients of all time (20,081 consecutive adults). We looked at the symptoms and the complications (stones, osteoporosis, etc, etc) in patients that have very high calcium and compared them to parathyroid patients with only very mild elevations of calcium. The two groups were those with hyperparathyroidism with calcium levels below 11.0 mg/dl (2.75 mmol/l) and those with calcium levels above 11. The result: NO DIFFERENCE! People with calcium levels of 12.5 do NOT have more symptoms, or stones, or osteoporosis, or fatigue (or anything) than people with calcium of 10.5. A calcium of 12.5 is not worse than a calcium of 10.5. It's all about the duration, not the height. Read and print the entire article here. This is a great article for you to print and educate your doctors with!
Our Hypercalcemia page has a cool Hypercalcemia Calculator that will give the exact upper limit of normal calcium for your age.
Another extremely common problem is that patients will go to their doctor with one (or often several) of the symptoms listed on this page. The doctor will run some tests and nothing shows up. The doctor then says "Everything is fine. Your lab work is all fine except for a slightly elevated calcium level which can't be the problem. Let's just wait for 6 months and check it again". This often goes on for years until eventually somebody decides to look into the high calcium, or incredible as it seems, the patient changes doctors and the new doctor says "Hey, what the heck are we doing about all these high calcium levels?". This doctor gets it! 26% of our last 20,000 cases of hyperparathyroidism were diagnosed when that patient went to a new doctor--on their first visit!.
Again, we want to stress the fact that almost all patients with high calcium will have some of the symptoms listed on this page. How bad these symptoms are is not necessarily related to how high your calcium is elevated. If it's elevated a little bit (around 10.7), you may be depressed, forgetful, constantly tired, etc, etc. You do not need to have a calcium of 12 or higher to get symptoms.
To illustrate this point, during the month of February 2010 Drs Norman and Politz operated on 195 patients with hyperparathyroidism. Three had already had a stroke. One stroke patient had calcium levels around 12.8. The other two never had a calcium level above 11.7, but they had calcium levels over 10.1 for 12 years. Similarly, 36 of the 195 parathyroid patients that month already had kidney stones. Half of them never had a single calcium level above 11.3. Tiredness and/or depression was seen in 82% of all the patients during this month, yet 3/4 of them never had calcium levels above 11.3, some never had a calcium level higher than 10.8. Ninety percent of these patients had osteopenia or osteoporosis, yet this was not predictable by how high their calcium was.
Again, the symptoms you get--even the bad complications like kidney stones, heart problems, stroke, cancer, kidney failure, and osteoporosis are NOT related to how high your calcium levels are. So if your doctor says "lets just wait and see what happens since your calcium is not that high"--that is when you print this page and take it to him/her and educate them! This is bad advice. A high calcium level, regardless of how "high" it is, is not normal and your body will not like it. Waiting until your calcium goes above 11.5 is absolutely the worst advice you could ever get (malpractice?). and is given by doctors who don't know much about this disease. Let's face it. most doctors might see hyperparathyroidism once in a blue moon. Even endocrinologists will see diabetes patients all day long, and see one parathyroid patient every couple of weeks or months. They are extremely up to date on diabetes and thyroid disease because they see this daily. Sadly, there are some endocrinologists that are not up to date on parathyroid disease. It's probably because they don't see it very often.
Remember - It is almost never normal to have a high blood calcium level.
It is well known that almost all people with parathyroid disease will have obvious parathyroid symptoms, while some aren't quite so sure they have any. For this latter group (about 2-5%), it can only be known several months after the operation to remove the bad parathyroid gland. Almost all of those patients who thought they didn't have any parathyroid symptoms preoperatively will claim to sleep better at night, be less irritable, and find that they remember things much easier than they could when their calcium levels were high (nervous system problems). Just ask your family members if you have become more irritable or cranky over the past couple of years!
The most common symptoms are those listed at the top of the list. with about 75% of people with hyperparathyroidism having 4 or 5 of the first 6 listed. MOST people will have several symptoms--the average person will have between 4 and 6 (see the dots on the graph above). Also be aware that the symptoms that people get are somewhat different depending on their age (teenagers get different symptoms than people in their 60's). Read more about the age differences in parathyroid symptoms on our age page. Important: when young people get hyperparathyroidism, their symptoms are usually different than when a parathyroid tumor develops in older people.
In many cases, it's the spouse or children who has detected a change in personality over the past several years -- "He/She is more cranky than he/she used to be; he/she has a shorter fuse and is quicker to anger than he/she used to be". In some cases, its ONLY the spouse who notices a big difference in the patient with the parathyroid problem, while the person with the parathyroid problem will claim they don't see much difference in their personality. After the parathyroid operation, spouses typically comment that their husband or wife sleeps better, can remember things better, and is easier to get along with -- "After the operation, he/she quickly returned to his/her old self again!". As Dr Norman says: "A good parathyroid surgeon can save a lot of marriages!"
FATIGUE IN PATIENTS WITH HYPERPARATHYROIDISM. The number one symptom that people with hyperparathyroidism complain about is fatigue. Just over 82% of our last 28,000 patients said this was their main problem. Many patients are diagnosed with parathyroid disease because they went to their doctor saying "I'm tired all the time, something must be wrong". Often the doctor will say "I can't find anything wrong", but the patient says "I know my body, and I'm telling you, something is wrong!" Many will say that they noticed "something changed last year", or "for the past 4 years I've been tired and I just thought it was menopause". A lot of people with hyperparathyroidism say that they are ok in the morning, but by noon they just can't get going any more. They can't stay motivated past noon or 1 o'clock in the afternoon. This all makes sense when we understand that our nervous system runs on calcium and when the calcium is high in the blood, this makes our nerves conduct electricity a bit slower--we interpret this as tiredness, fatigue, poor sleeping, poor memory, and other issues regarding how we feel. Almost all patients with a parathyroid tumor will feel remarkably better a week or two after the tumor has been removed. Most say "it was like the fog was lifted from me overnight". Read our testimonial page to see what other parathyroid patients say about this. This is the best part of our job. our patients love us because we give them back their energy and their "joy of life".
BONE PAIN IN PATIENTS WITH HYPERPARATHYROIDISM. Patients with persistently elevated calcium levels due to overproduction of parathyroid hormone can also have complaints of bone pain. Bone pain is due to the activity of the parathyroid hormone on the bones, causing the calcium to be pulled OUT of the bones. In the severe form of parathyroid disease--or parathyroid disease that has been present for several years, bones can give up so much of their calcium that the bones become brittle and break (osteoporosis and osteopenia). This problem is even more of a concern in older patients. Bones can also have small hemorrhages within their center which will cause bone pain. This is why many patients with parathyroid disease will have a DEXA bone density scan performed by their doctor. The doctor is looking to see how much calcium has already been lost due to the excess parathyroid hormone. Although mini-parathyroid surgery has made it so ALL patients with parathyroid disease should be operated on for cure, those with osteoporosis or a decrease in bone density really should have it done! Also. If you have this disease and have not had a DEXA bone density scan--you need to get one. This will allow us to determine how much bone calcium you have lost and how best to get it replaced. Parathyroid.com has a complete page on osteoporosis due to parathyroid disease (click here).
Does everybody with hyperparathyroidism get osteoporosis? YES, some faster than others. Some people will have osteoporosis when they are 25 years old if they have a parathyroid tumor. Heck, where do you think all the extra calcium in the blood and urine comes from? It's coming from your bones!
Get the Calcium-Pro App FOR SMART PHONES AND TABLETS. The experts at the Norman Parathyroid Center developed an app that will diagnose your hyperparathyroidism, tell you what tests you need and which ones to avoid, and tell you what your risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, kidney stones and even your increased risk for several cancers based upon your calcium, vitamin D, and parathyroid hormone levels. Get this Award-Winning app. It is smarter than your doctor.
DEPRESSION IN PATIENTS WITH HYPERPARATHYROIDISM. Another frequent symptom of parathyroid disease is depression. Just under 48% of our last 22,000 patients were either diagnosed with "depression" or were put on an anti-depressant within the previous 2 years. The vast majority of patients have some depression symptoms such as lack of energy, sadness, inability to sleep well, anxiety, nervousness, irritability, (etc) that their doctor felt was consistent with the diagnosis of "depression" so they were put on an anti-depressant medication (examples: Effexor, Zoloft, Paxil, Prozac, Lexapro, Wellbutrin, Celexa, etc). Thus, because hyperparathyroidism is a rare problem, most doctors are not aware that depression, tiredness, lack of energy, etc are some of the most common symptoms of this disease--so they treat the symptoms instead of treating the disease! Sadly, your doctor can miss the proper diagnosis of hyperparathyroidism because they don't see this disease very often (or they don't recognize it when they see it!). Read our blog on this topic, you will see common stories of the symptoms of hyperparathyroidism.
IMPORTANT, almost all parathyroid patients that have been given the diagnosis of depression and have been put on one of these drugs can be taken off of the antidepressant medication after the operation. You should wait about 2 months after the operation for your hormones and calcium levels to stabilize, and then work with your doctor to see if you can be weaned from the drugs. Almost all can. But, don't do it on your own, do this with your doctor's help.