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Bird flu symptoms

Updated: Saturday, April 19, 2014 9:25 PM 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:
China reports new bird flu case in humans - IANS
19 Apr 2014 at 8:11pm
China reports new bird flu case in humans - IANS
19 Apr 2014 at 8:11pm
Japan bird flu same as seen in S. Korea - The Japan News
18 Apr 2014 at 6:23am
Japan bird flu same as seen in S. Korea - The Japan News
18 Apr 2014 at 6:23am
Bird Flu Continues to Spread in N. Korea - Voice of America
17 Apr 2014 at 12:56pm
Bird Flu Continues to Spread in N. Korea - Voice of America
17 Apr 2014 at 12:56pm
Kumamoto bird flu strain ID'd as H5N8, new to Japan - The Japan Times
17 Apr 2014 at 7:39am
Kumamoto bird flu strain ID'd as H5N8, new to Japan - The Japan Times
17 Apr 2014 at 7:39am
First hurdle cleared to stamp out bird flu - The Japan Times
16 Apr 2014 at 5:34am
First hurdle cleared to stamp out bird flu - The Japan Times
16 Apr 2014 at 5:34am
British Poultry Farmers Warned to Maintain Vigilance Against Bird Flu - ThePo...
16 Apr 2014 at 5:04am
British Poultry Farmers Warned to Maintain Vigilance Against Bird Flu - ThePo...
16 Apr 2014 at 5:04am
Breeding ground for bird flu - The Arctic Journal
16 Apr 2014 at 3:03am
Breeding ground for bird flu - The Arctic Journal
16 Apr 2014 at 3:03am
Shanghai Street View: Bird Flu Takes Flight - Seeking Alpha
16 Apr 2014 at 12:15am
Shanghai Street View: Bird Flu Takes Flight - Seeking Alpha
16 Apr 2014 at 12:15am
WHO: Another Confirmed Case Of Bird Flu In Hong Kong - RTT News
15 Apr 2014 at 5:23pm
WHO: Another Confirmed Case Of Bird Flu In Hong Kong - RTT News
15 Apr 2014 at 5:23pm
Japan culls 112000 chickens after bird flu outbreak - China Post
15 Apr 2014 at 11:39am
Japan culls 112000 chickens after bird flu outbreak - China Post
15 Apr 2014 at 11:39am
Kyushu farmers on alert after bird flu resurfaces - The Japan Times
15 Apr 2014 at 6:04am
Kyushu farmers on alert after bird flu resurfaces - The Japan Times
15 Apr 2014 at 6:04am
Deadly H5N1 bird flu needs just five mutations to spread easily in people - P...
15 Apr 2014 at 1:49am
Deadly H5N1 bird flu needs just five mutations to spread easily in people - P...
15 Apr 2014 at 1:49am
112000 chickens culled at Kumamoto Farms in bid to curb bird flu outbreak - T...
14 Apr 2014 at 9:03pm
112000 chickens culled at Kumamoto Farms in bid to curb bird flu outbreak - T...
14 Apr 2014 at 9:03pm
Bird Flu Epidemic to Be Eradicated 'in May' - The Chosun Ilbo
14 Apr 2014 at 8:46pm
Bird Flu Epidemic to Be Eradicated 'in May' - The Chosun Ilbo
14 Apr 2014 at 8:46pm
PM Abe Golfs On After Bird Flu Report - Wall Street Journal (blog)
14 Apr 2014 at 3:18am
PM Abe Golfs On After Bird Flu Report - Wall Street Journal (blog)
14 Apr 2014 at 3:18am
Chatham Author Pens Book on Teen's Struggle to Survive Bird Flu - Patch.com
14 Apr 2014 at 2:01am
Chatham Author Pens Book on Teen's Struggle to Survive Bird Flu - Patch.com
14 Apr 2014 at 2:01am
Japan orders slaughter of 112000 chickens after H5 strain of bird flu detecte...
13 Apr 2014 at 6:36am
Japan orders slaughter of 112000 chickens after H5 strain of bird flu detecte...
13 Apr 2014 at 6:36am
China soya imports may drop as bird flu crimps animal feed demand - Business ...
12 Apr 2014 at 10:42am
China soya imports may drop as bird flu crimps animal feed demand - Business ...
12 Apr 2014 at 10:42am
Poultry import from Nepal banned after bird flu reports - Economic Times
12 Apr 2014 at 2:42am
Poultry import from Nepal banned after bird flu reports - Economic Times
12 Apr 2014 at 2:42am
Five mutations could make bird flu spread easily - Science News
11 Apr 2014 at 7:03am
Five mutations could make bird flu spread easily - Science News
11 Apr 2014 at 7:03am