Avian Influenza (Bird Flu)
Avian (bird) influenza (flu) viruses occur naturally in birds. Wild birds worldwide carry the viruses in their intestines and usually do not get sick from them. However, avian flu can infect domesticated birds, including chickens,ducks and turkeys.
In domestic poultry, there are two main forms of the avian influenza virus. The less severe of the two (“low pathogenic,” LPAI H5N1) commonly causes only mild symptoms (ruffled feathers, a drop in egg production) and may easily go undetected. The more severe form (highly pathogenic, HPAI H5N1) spreads very rapidly through poultry flocks, causes disease affecting multiple internal organs, and has a mortality rate that can approach 100%, often within 48 hours.
On rare occasions, bird flu viruses can infect humans. The risk is generally low to most people. However, confirmed cases of human infection have been reported since 1997.
IN THE NEWS:
Avian Influenza A (H7N9) Virus
Public health officials continue to closely monitor the situation of human infection with influenza A(H7N9). As of today, there are still no reported cases outside of China.
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Chinese public health officials have confirmed 16 cases of human infection with a novel avian influenza A (H7N9). At this time, no cases have been detected in Hawaii or the mainland United States.
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