What is Bird Flu?

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What is Bird Flu?
Bird flu literally means “flu in birds” or an influenza virus infection among birds. It is also called “avian flu” or “avian influenza” and the usual virus strains that cause this type of infection are of the Type A variety. Contraction of bird flu usually results from contact with dead and infected birds. Other people may also get this infectious illness from contact with fluids or bird droppings that are infected. Spread of the bird flu virus is also usually secondary to contact with an infected person. It is said though that the contraction and/or spread of bird flu is more likely to happen from infected birds to humans rather than from one person to another.

Based on existing data from different countries, symptoms of bird flu may vary year after year. But as with the common flu, bird flu also presents itself with “flu-like” symptoms at the beginning of the illness. Some of these minor symptoms will progress into a more serious respiratory illness which could cause breathing problems or difficulties. Severe cases of bird flu may even lead to death.

The strain of virus involved in bird flu is considered highly contagious. Though its spread from one person to another is not very likely to happen, every person must still take caution especially if in close contact with those infected by this illness. What worries most health experts is that the virus strain may change and mutate once inside the human body. If this happens, the virus could become more contagious and could cause a more serious type of illness.

Immediate medical attention is advised if bird flu is suspected. Care must also be taken by infected persons not to spread the virus to other people. For prevention purposes, vaccines that combat some strains of bird flu may be administered to people.

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