- Avian Influenza, also known as Bird Flu, is an infectious disease of animals caused by Type A strains of the influenza virus (H5N1) that normally infect only birds.
- Thailand, Vietnam, China, Japan, South Korea, Indonesia, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Taiwan and Pakistan have reported outbreaks in chickens, ducks and wild birds.
- Infected wild migratory fowls are thought to be spreading the virus from location to location.
- Symptoms include high fever, diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain, pleuritic pain, bleeding from the nose and gums.
Human infection with H5N1: So far, most cases of avian flu in humans appear to have resulted from contact with infected birds-such as breathing in dust containing bird faeces, from contaminated surfaces, or from ingestion of uncooked or undercooked poultry or poultry products. Of the 139 people known to have been infected with avian flu as of January’06, 71 have died-a fearsome mortality rate.
To prevent risk of getting infected
Avoid close contact.
- Maintain distance from live chickens and ducks, even to ones that appear healthy. They are the major source of the virus.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too.
- Avoid contact with items or surfaces that may have been contaminated by birds.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent those around you from getting sick.
- Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs.
- Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth.
- All food from poultry, including eggs, should be cooked thoroughly.
- Seek prompt medical attention if symptoms like fever or difficulty in breathing or cough persists.