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Information About Avian Influenza

Avian Influenza
Bird Flue
Infectious Diseases
Mad Cow Disease
  Avian Influenza
Avian influenza (also known as bird flu or avian flu) is a type of influenza virus that is hosted by birds, but may infect several species of mammals. It was first identified in Italy in the early 1900s and is now known to exist worldwide. Avian influenza viruses compose the Influenzavirus A genus of the Orthomyxoviridae family and are negative-stranded, segmented RNA viruses. A strain of the H5N1-type of avian influenza that emerged in 1997 has been identified as the most likely source of a future influenza pandemic.


Strains of avian influenza may infect various type of animals, including birds, pigs, horses, seals, whales and humans. However, wild fowl act as natural asymptomatic carriers, spreading it to more susceptible domestic stocks. Avian influenza spreads in the air and in manure. It can also be transmitted by contaminated feed, water, equipment and clothing; however, there is no evidence that the virus can survive in well cooked meat. The incubation period is 3 to 5 days. Symptoms in animals vary, but virulent strains can cause death within a few days.

In humans, avian flu causes similar symptoms to other types of flu. [1] These include fever, cough, sore throat, muscle aches, conjunctivitis and, in severe cases, severe breathing problems and pneumonia that may be fatal. The severity of the infection will depend to a large part on the state of the infected person's immune system and if the victim has been exposed to the strain before, and is therefore partially immune. In one case, a boy with H5N1 experienced diarrhea followed rapidly by a coma without developing respiratory or flu-like symptoms, suggesting non-standard symptoms.

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