Bird Flu in Humans: Symptoms and Prevention

Bird flu, also called avian influenza, is a viral respiratory disease mainly of poultry and certain other bird species that can be transmitted directly to humans.

H5N1 is the most common form of bird flu. It’s deadly to birds and can easily affect humans and other animals.

The disease is transmitted to humans through contact with infected bird feces, nasal secretions, or secretions from the mouth or eyes.

The first known cases of H5N1 virus in humans were reported in Hong Kong in 1997 that led to severe illness in 18 persons, one-third of whom died.

Symptoms of bird flu

People infected with H5N1 virus will experience typical flu-like symptoms such as cough, headache, sore throat, muscle aches, runny nose, respiratory difficulties, diarrhea, fever (over 100.4°F or 38°C) etc.

However, people should consult doctors immediately if they experience such symptoms.

How to prevent bird flu?

People can minimize the risk by avoiding open-air markets , contact with infected birds and under-cooked poultry.

Consuming properly cooked poultry or eggs from infected birds doesn’t transmit the bird flu, but eggs should never be served runny. Meat is considered safe if it has been cooked to an internal temperature of 165ºF (73.9ºC).

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