What You Need To Know: Avian Influenza (Part II)

Today, InsideCTEH is delving deeper into the topic by highlighting two important issues. First, how avian flu is transmitted from birds to humans and second, how you can help detect whether you have been infected. Remember,  in last week’s installment of What You Need to Know, we discussed the basics of avian influenza, also known as the “avian flu” or “bird flu.” Check out the FAQs below:
How do humans contract the avian flu?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, humans are generally not infected by avian influenza A viruses. That being said, the majority of human cases of avian flu, such as H5N1, are related to direct exposure or close contact with infected or dead poultry.

Can people get the avian flu by eating poultry?

The World Health Organization says there is no evidence to suggest that humans can be infected by avian influenza A viruses through properly handled or cooked poultry and eggs.

What are the signs and symptoms of the avian flu?

Individuals infected by low pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI) may display symptoms like the flu (fever, sore throat, muscle aches) or lower respiratory diseases, such as pneumonia. There is also a wide range of symptoms for those infected by highly pathogenic avian influenza. These may include flu-like symptoms, severe respiratory illness or multi-organ disease that may be paired with nausea, stomach pains, vomiting or neurological changes. 

How can a person tell if he has avian flu?

Avian influenza A viruses cannot be detected through signs and symptoms alone. Individuals who think they may be affected should obtain a laboratory test. Doctors may take a swab from the nose or throat within the first few days of illness. If an individual is critically ill, lower respiratory tract specimens may also be tested.

Education is the key to staying healthy! We hope you’ll share these FAQs with your family and friends, and check back with InsideCTEH next week for our last article on avian influenza. For additional information, please visit cdc.gov.