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Bird flu symptoms

Updated: Wednesday, November 26, 2014 1:35 AM EDT
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Bird flu symptoms

Although there have been too few human cases to determine the exact incubation period of bird flu, it would be expected to be from three to 10 days. The symptoms of bird flu in humans are similar to those of regular influenza and include:

Complications Of Bird flu
Bird flu in humans can cause a range of serious and potentially fatal complications, including: Tell your doctor if you've been to a country where there is bird flu
If you have recently returned from a country that had an outbreak of bird flu and you get flu symptoms, see your doctor immediately. When making the appointment, tell the clinic staff about your travel including any visits to markets, farms or anywhere else where birds were present.

Influenza viruses can mutate
Influenza viruses that infect animal species can mutate and infect humans. The human immune system may have no defences against viruses that previously only infected animals. That's why infection with these viruses can result in more severe disease in people.

If the H5N1 bird flu virus were to mix with a human influenza virus, such a 'combined' virus could create a new human influenza virus that could spread rapidly.

Health experts are concerned that the current bird flu affecting Asia could become a worldwide pandemic if the virus does mutate. The worst influenza pandemic in modern history was the Spanish flu, which occurred in 1918–19 and killed up to 50 million people.

Measures to contain the spread of the current bird flu virus include identifying and culling affected poultry flocks, research into tests and vaccines, and rigorous quarantine practices.

Treatment options
Several antiviral medications used to treat human influenza are also effective for bird flu. These could be used if a person developed symptoms after possible exposure to bird flu, or to prevent illness in a person who was in close contact with bird flu. Currently testing for bird flu vaccines is an ongoing process.

At the moment, there is no need for people living in USA, or people making short visits to countries with cases of bird flu, to have antiviral medications. Americans living long-term in countries affected by bird flu should consider having a supply of antiviral medications in the home to use on medical advice should the situation change while they are away from the US.

The Federal government is stockpiling Relenza and Tamiflu, two drugs that may be used in the treatment of human cases of bird flu. In the case of an outbreak in humans, these drugs would be used to maintain essential services, prevent transmission and provide treatment for people who are already ill.

A vaccine against bird flu is in development, but is not currently available. The current influenza vaccines will not protect humans against bird flu. However, people who may be exposed to bird flu should consider being vaccinated against human influenza viruses to reduce the risk of the viruses 'mixing' to form a new flu strain.

Advice for travellers
Be aware of the risk of bird flu if you are travelling to a country where outbreaks are occurring. Suggestions include:
No need for panic over bird flu: IMA - The Hindu
25 Nov 2014 at 9:29pm
No need for panic over bird flu: IMA - The Hindu
25 Nov 2014 at 9:29pm
Namakkal on high alert over bird flu - Deccan Chronicle
25 Nov 2014 at 4:36pm
Namakkal on high alert over bird flu - Deccan Chronicle
25 Nov 2014 at 4:36pm
Suspected bird flu case in Tokyo confirmed as negative - The Japan Times
25 Nov 2014 at 3:55pm
Suspected bird flu case in Tokyo confirmed as negative - The Japan Times
25 Nov 2014 at 3:55pm
Steps to combat bird flu in Kottayam district - Deccan Chronicle
25 Nov 2014 at 3:44pm
Steps to combat bird flu in Kottayam district - Deccan Chronicle
25 Nov 2014 at 3:44pm
Door to Door Survey for Bird Flu - Deccan Chronicle
25 Nov 2014 at 3:44pm
Door to Door Survey for Bird Flu - Deccan Chronicle
25 Nov 2014 at 3:44pm
Bird flu hits Rs 7 crore business - Deccan Chronicle
25 Nov 2014 at 3:29pm
Bird flu hits Rs 7 crore business - Deccan Chronicle
25 Nov 2014 at 3:29pm
Steps on to curb bird flu - The Hindu
25 Nov 2014 at 2:10pm
Steps on to curb bird flu - The Hindu
25 Nov 2014 at 2:10pm
Culling Ordered After Bird Flu Outbreaks in Kerala - NDTV
25 Nov 2014 at 12:21pm
Culling Ordered After Bird Flu Outbreaks in Kerala - NDTV
25 Nov 2014 at 12:21pm
Bird flu-affected farmers to get compensation - Himalayan Times
25 Nov 2014 at 11:58am
Bird flu-affected farmers to get compensation - Himalayan Times
25 Nov 2014 at 11:58am
India orders culling after bird flu outbreaks in Kerala - Reuters
25 Nov 2014 at 11:42am
India orders culling after bird flu outbreaks in Kerala - Reuters
25 Nov 2014 at 11:42am
Bird flu hits Kerala, fowls to be culled - Times of Oman
25 Nov 2014 at 10:35am
Bird flu hits Kerala, fowls to be culled - Times of Oman
25 Nov 2014 at 10:35am
India reports bird flu virus at duck farm in Kerala state - Fox News
25 Nov 2014 at 10:00am
India reports bird flu virus at duck farm in Kerala state - Fox News
25 Nov 2014 at 10:00am
Kerala moves to prevent spread of bird flu - Hindu Business Line
25 Nov 2014 at 9:27am
Kerala moves to prevent spread of bird flu - Hindu Business Line
25 Nov 2014 at 9:27am
Bird flu outbreak prompts farmers to weigh up insurance needs - FarmersWeekly
25 Nov 2014 at 8:57am
Bird flu outbreak prompts farmers to weigh up insurance needs - FarmersWeekly
25 Nov 2014 at 8:57am
Two outbreaks of highly pathogenic H5 bird flu virus reported at duck farm in...
25 Nov 2014 at 8:49am
Two outbreaks of highly pathogenic H5 bird flu virus reported at duck farm in...
25 Nov 2014 at 8:49am
No Duck Meat on Houseboats as Bird Flu Hits Kerala - The New Indian Express
25 Nov 2014 at 8:40am
No Duck Meat on Houseboats as Bird Flu Hits Kerala - The New Indian Express
25 Nov 2014 at 8:40am
UK Government Updates Guidance on Bird Flu Biosecurity - ThePoultrySite.com
25 Nov 2014 at 7:49am
UK Government Updates Guidance on Bird Flu Biosecurity - ThePoultrySite.com
25 Nov 2014 at 7:49am
Vaccine against bird flu tested in humans - Medical Xpress
25 Nov 2014 at 7:01am
Vaccine against bird flu tested in humans - Medical Xpress
25 Nov 2014 at 7:01am
Wales on the alert for bird flu after Yorkshire duck farm case - WalesOnline
25 Nov 2014 at 6:59am
Wales on the alert for bird flu after Yorkshire duck farm case - WalesOnline
25 Nov 2014 at 6:59am
Bird flu outbreak in Kerala: Tamil Nadu poultry farmers take precautionary .....
25 Nov 2014 at 5:29am
Bird flu outbreak in Kerala: Tamil Nadu poultry farmers take precautionary .....
25 Nov 2014 at 5:29am