What is Avian influenza (bird flu)?
Avian influenza is an infection caused by Avian (bird) influenza (flu) viruses. These flu viruses occur naturally among birds.
How does Avian influenza spread among birds?
Infected birds shed influenza virus in their saliva, nasal secretions, and feces. Susceptible birds become infected when they have contact with contaminated excretions or with surfaces that are contaminated with excretions or secretions.
Do Avian influenza viruses infect humans?
Bird flu viruses do not usually infect humans, but more than 190 confirmed cases of human infection with bird flu viruses have occurred since 1997.
How do people become infected with Avian influenza viruses?
Most cases of Avian influenza infection in humans have resulted from direct or close contact with infected poultry (e.g., domesticated chicken, ducks, and turkeys) or surfaces contaminated with secretions and excretions from infected birds. The spread of Avian influenza viruses from an ill person to another person has been reported very rarely, and transmission has not been observed to continue beyond one person.
What are the symptoms of Avian influenza in humans?
Symptoms of Avian influenza in humans have ranged from typical human influenza-like symptoms (fever, cough, sore throat, and muscle aches) to eye infections, pneumonia, severe respiratory diseases (such as acute respiratory distress syndrome), and other severe and life-threatening complications.
Current Phase of Pandemic Alert
- Avoid Close Contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick as well
- When you are sick, stay home from work
- When you sneeze or cough, be sure to cover your mouth and nose with a tissue. Throw away the tissue in a wastebasket and wash or sanitize hands right away
- Wash Hands Often
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth
- Continue to get annual flu shots. They won't protect you from bird flu specifically, but they will reduce the risk of simultaneous infection with human and bird flu viruses which is the main way that viruses swap genes, leading to new strains that can cause pandemics
- If you're traveling to areas where bird flu is prevalent, there are additional precautions you should take: Avoid rural areas, wild birds and open-air markets, and steer clear of ice cream and any other foods that contain raw or undercooked eggs because the shells may be contaminated with droppings
- Use Antiseptic wipes for opening doors or use on common work spaces
- Remove bird feeders at your house to avoid contact with wild birds
- Always have a few weeks of water, non-perishable food and medication