Bird Flu (Avian Influenza, Avian Flu)
Mary D. Nettleman, MD, MS, MACP
Mary D. Nettleman, MD, MS, MACP is the Chair of the Department of Medicine at Michigan State University. She is a graduate of Vanderbilt Medical School, and completed her residency in Internal Medicine and a fellowship in Infectious Diseases at Indiana University.
Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD
Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.
John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP
John P. Cunha, DO, is a U.S. board-certified Emergency Medicine Physician. Dr. Cunha's educational background includes a BS in Biology from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, and a DO from the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences in Kansas City, MO. He completed residency training in Emergency Medicine at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in Newark, New Jersey.
- Bird flu facts
- What is bird flu?
- What causes bird flu?
- What are risk factors for bird flu?
- What are bird flu symptoms and signs?
- How is bird flu diagnosed?
- What is the treatment for bird flu?
- What are the complications of bird flu?
- What is the prognosis of bird flu?
- Can bird flu be prevented with a vaccine?
- Where can people find more information about bird flu?
- Patient Comments: Bird Flu - Symptoms
Bird flu facts
- Bird flu refers to strains of influenza that primarily affect wild and domesticated birds.
- Bird flu is also known as avian flu or avian influenza.
- Although bird flu is contagious and spreads easily among birds, it is uncommon for it to be transmitted to humans.
- In the late 1990s, a new strain of bird flu arose which was unusually severe ("highly pathogenic"), resulting in the deaths of hundreds of millions of birds, including poultry.
- Risk factors include association with birds and poultry farms and bird feces.
- Symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, nausea; symptoms often progress to severe breathing problems, pneumonia that can result in death.
- Definitive diagnosis requires identification of the viral strain by immunological tests.
- Treatment may include antiviral medication and often requires intensive supportive care.
- Control efforts, including culling infected flocks and vaccinating healthy birds, have limited the spread of highly pathogenic bird flu strains.
- In 2011, a mutated strain of highly pathogenic bird flu appeared, H5N1, which is concerning because the existing poultry vaccines are not very effective against the H5N1 strain; in 2013, a new strain, H7N9, appeared in China.
- Human infection with highly pathogenic strains of bird flu is uncommon, with about 622 cases reported as of March 2013 since 1997.
- Human infection occurs primarily in people who have close contact with sick poultry in countries where the virus is found; there have been isolated cases of human-to-human transmission.
- There is no commercially available vaccine for humans against bird flu strains; human infection with bird flu is fatal in approximately 60% of infected humans, but only a small number of humans have become infected since 1997.
- Bird flu from the highly pathogenic strains (for example H5N1) is not found in the United States at this time in birds or humans.
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