Avian Flu Symptoms
In humans, avian flu signs and symptoms are generally not serious and include typical flu-like symptoms -- for example, fever, cough, and sore throat, as well as eye infections. More serious symptoms seen with the disease include pneumonia, acute respiratory distress, viral pneumonia, and other severe and life-threatening complications.
Avian flu (also called avian influenza or bird flu) is an infection caused by avian flu viruses. These flu viruses occur naturally among birds. Wild birds worldwide carry the viruses in their intestines, but usually do not get sick from them. However, this disease is highly contagious among birds and can make some domesticated birds, including chickens, ducks, and turkeys, very sick and even kill them. To date, avian flu transmission to humans has rarely occurred.
Infection with avian flu in domestic poultry causes two main forms of the disease that are distinguished by low and high extremes of virulence. The "low pathogenic" form may go undetected and usually causes only mild avian flu symptoms, which include ruffled feathers and a drop in egg production. The highly pathogenic form of avian flu spreads more rapidly through flocks of poultry. This form may cause disease that affects multiple internal organs and has a mortality rate that can reach 90 to 100 percent, often within 48 hours.
Symptoms of avian flu in humans can include typical influenza-like symptoms, such as:
- Sore throat
- Muscle aches.
Less severe symptoms can also include eye infections (conjunctivitis).
More serious avian flu symptoms include: