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Bird flu symptoms

Updated: Monday, March 30, 2015 12:01 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:
Bird flu found in a top Minnesota turkey producing county - KDWN
29 Mar 2015 at 9:11pm
Bird flu found in a top Minnesota turkey producing county - KDWN
29 Mar 2015 at 9:11pm
Greater jakarta: Two die of bird flu in Tangerang - Jakarta Post
29 Mar 2015 at 5:49pm
Greater jakarta: Two die of bird flu in Tangerang - Jakarta Post
29 Mar 2015 at 5:49pm
Uttar Pradesh on bird flu alert as thousands of poultry birds die - Daily Mail
29 Mar 2015 at 4:33pm
Uttar Pradesh on bird flu alert as thousands of poultry birds die - Daily Mail
29 Mar 2015 at 4:33pm
Woman dies of bird flu, raising disease death toll to 15 in 2015 - The Cairo ...
29 Mar 2015 at 7:30am
Woman dies of bird flu, raising disease death toll to 15 in 2015 - The Cairo ...
29 Mar 2015 at 7:30am
Egypt bird flu death toll at 16 in 2015 - Egypt Independent
29 Mar 2015 at 2:51am
Egypt bird flu death toll at 16 in 2015 - Egypt Independent
29 Mar 2015 at 2:51am
Ebola virus vaccine developed by bird flu scientist - Redding Record Searchlight
28 Mar 2015 at 9:51pm
Ebola virus vaccine developed by bird flu scientist - Redding Record Searchlight
28 Mar 2015 at 9:51pm
Tangerang Father and Son Die From Bird Flu: Health Ministry - Jakarta Globe
28 Mar 2015 at 4:55pm
Tangerang Father and Son Die From Bird Flu: Health Ministry - Jakarta Globe
28 Mar 2015 at 4:55pm
3rd Minnesota Turkey Farm Hit by Bird Flu Outbreak - ABC News
28 Mar 2015 at 11:44am
3rd Minnesota Turkey Farm Hit by Bird Flu Outbreak - ABC News
28 Mar 2015 at 11:44am
Bird Flu Is a Reminder For Back Yard Poultry Owners to Protect Their Birds By...
27 Mar 2015 at 2:19pm
Bird Flu Is a Reminder For Back Yard Poultry Owners to Protect Their Birds By...
27 Mar 2015 at 2:19pm
Bird flu alert in Bulgaria after virus found in dead pelicans - euronews
27 Mar 2015 at 10:50am
Bird flu alert in Bulgaria after virus found in dead pelicans - euronews
27 Mar 2015 at 10:50am
New bird flu case found in Friesland - NL Times
27 Mar 2015 at 8:59am
New bird flu case found in Friesland - NL Times
27 Mar 2015 at 8:59am
Romania confirms bird flu in dead pelicans: report - Reuters
27 Mar 2015 at 8:46am
Romania confirms bird flu in dead pelicans: report - Reuters
27 Mar 2015 at 8:46am
Caution urged after bird flu turns up in Cheyenne-area goose - SunHerald.com
26 Mar 2015 at 10:10pm
Caution urged after bird flu turns up in Cheyenne-area goose - SunHerald.com
26 Mar 2015 at 10:10pm
Island in focus: Yogyakarta free of bird flu - Jakarta Post
26 Mar 2015 at 5:48pm
Island in focus: Yogyakarta free of bird flu - Jakarta Post
26 Mar 2015 at 5:48pm
Bulgaria detects bird flu in dead pelicans - Reuters
26 Mar 2015 at 9:36am
Bulgaria detects bird flu in dead pelicans - Reuters
26 Mar 2015 at 9:36am
No clear answers on bird flu origin in Minn. - KARE
25 Mar 2015 at 6:23pm
No clear answers on bird flu origin in Minn. - KARE
25 Mar 2015 at 6:23pm
Bird flu confirmed in Crawford County, KDA says - Topeka Capital Journal
25 Mar 2015 at 9:35am
Bird flu confirmed in Crawford County, KDA says - Topeka Capital Journal
25 Mar 2015 at 9:35am
Massachusetts farm cancels Easter egg hunt over bird flu - WCVB Boston
24 Mar 2015 at 7:30am
Massachusetts farm cancels Easter egg hunt over bird flu - WCVB Boston
24 Mar 2015 at 7:30am
New bird flu strain making rounds - Chillicothe Gazette
23 Mar 2015 at 4:16pm
New bird flu strain making rounds - Chillicothe Gazette
23 Mar 2015 at 4:16pm
Greenfields: Bird flu in neighboring states prompts warning - DesMoinesRegist...
20 Mar 2015 at 9:09pm
Greenfields: Bird flu in neighboring states prompts warning - DesMoinesRegist...
20 Mar 2015 at 9:09pm