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What Is Avian Influenza, is it highly contagious? – A Report

in Actually What Is Avian Influenza? Avian Influenza (AI) is a highly contagious viral disorder that infects both domestic as well as wild birds. AI viruses have also been isolated from species of mammals such as rats, mice, weasels, ferrets, pigs, cats, tigers, dogs, as well as horses, though less frequently than from humans.

The spread of avian influenza viruses is not a novel occurrence. In the literature, there are numerous accounts of previous epidemics of avian influenza spreading among domestic poultry flocks. AI is found all across the world, with some strains being more dominant than others in different parts of the globe.

What Is Avian Influenza?- The economic impact of avian influenza

Avian influenza epidemics can have disastrous effects for the poultry sector and the country as a whole.

Experimentation has revealed that:

  • Farmers may see a significant level of mortality in their flocks, with mortality rates generally hovering around 50%.
  • Because the chicken business is so labor-intensive, employment losses can be severe, especially in developing countries.
  • Healthy birds are frequently slaughtered to contain outbreaks, posing threats to animal and human welfare as well as worries about protein waste and economic consequences.
  • Because of the existence of HPAI, international traffic in live birds and chicken meat is restricted.
  • Public perception may be harmed, resulting in a reduction in both travel and tourism in the impacted locations.

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Transmission and spread

The spread of AI viruses can be aided by a number of variables, including:

  • International trade and globalization
  • selling and farming (live bird markets)
  • migratory pathways and wild birds
AI viruses can be found in faeces and respiratory secretions of birds. They’re all disseminated through direct contact with diseased birds’ secretions, particularly faeces, or contaminated feed and water. 
avian influenza
AI viruses can be carried on farm equipment and spread readily from farm to farm due to their resistance to the elements, especially their capacity to survive for long periods of time in cold temperatures.
Normally, wild birds have AI viruses in their respiratory or digestive systems, but they rarely become ill, allowing them to spread the viruses across large distances along migrating flyways.
Avian Influenza

Symptoms of Avian Infulenza

Depending on the kind of bird flu, signs and symptoms might appear anywhere from two to seven days after infection. In most cases, they have symptoms that are similar to those of traditional influenza, such as:

  • Fever
  • Sore throat
  • Muscle aches
  • Headache
  • Shortness of breath

Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea are other common side effects. A moderate eye infection (conjunctivitis) is sometimes the only symptom of the condition.

When should you see a doctor?

If you have a fever, cough, or body aches and have recently been to a region where bird flu is present, see your doctor very away. If you go to any farms or open-air markets, make sure to tell your doctor.

Causes of Avian Influenza

Bird flu is a virus that can transmit from wild waterfowl to domestic poultry including chickens, turkeys, ducks, and geese. Contact with an infected bird’s faeces or secretions from its nose, mouth, or eyes transmits the disease.

Open-air markets, where eggs and birds are sold in crowded and filthy settings, are hotbeds of infection and can spread the disease to the rest of the community.

Bird flu can be transmitted through undercooked poultry meat or eggs from infected birds. Poultry meat that has been cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit is safe to eat (74 C). Cook eggs until the yolks and whites are both firm.

Risk factors of Avian Influenza

Contact with sick birds or surfaces infected by their feathers, saliva, or droppings appears to be the main risk factor for bird flu. The human transmission pattern is still a mystery. Bird flu has only been passed from one human to another in a few cases. Infected birds, however, pose the biggest threat until the virus spreads more easily among humans.


Bird flu patients may suffer life-threatening complications, such as:

  • Pneumonia
  • Pink eye (conjunctivitis)
  • Failure of the respiratory system
  • Dysfunction of the kidneys
  • Problems with the heart
What Is Avian Influenza

Despite the fact that bird flu may kill more than half of those infected, the number of fatalities is still modest due to the small number of people who have been infected. Since 1997, the World Health Organization has received reports of less than 500 avian flu deaths.

Seasonal influenza, on the other hand, is thought to be responsible for thousands of deaths each year in the United States alone, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Prevention of Avian Influenza

Bird flu vaccine

The FDA has approved a vaccine to protect against infection with one strain of the H5N1 avian flu virus. Although this vaccine is not yet available to the general public, the US govt. is stockpiling it and will distribute it if an outbreak occurs.

This vaccine could be administered early in an outbreak to provide limited protection while another vaccine, tailored to protect against the specific type of the virus causing the outbreak, is developed and manufactured. Other forms of avian flu vaccinations are also being developed by researchers.

Suggestions for travelers

If you’re planning a trip to Southeast Asia or another place where bird flu is a concern, keep these public health tips in mind:

Domesticated birds should be avoided. Avoid rural locations, tiny farms, and open-air marketplaces if at all feasible.

Please wash your hands. This is one of the easiest and most effective techniques to avoid infections of any kind. When travelling, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that has at least 60% alcohol.

Inquire about getting a flu vaccination. Before you travel, talk to your doctor about getting a flu shot. It will not save you from bird flu specifically, but it may help minimize the risk of catching both bird and human flu viruses at the same time.

Products derived from poultry and eggs

Cooked poultry poses no health risk because avian viruses are destroyed by heat. Even yet, when handling and preparing poultry, which may be infected with salmonella or other hazardous bacteria, it’s best to take measures.

Cross-contamination should be avoided. Wash cutting boards, utensils, and any other surfaces that have come into touch with raw poultry with hot, soapy water.
Cook for a long time. Cook the chicken until the juices flow clear and the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F. (74 C).

Avoid eating uncooked eggs. Avoid foods containing raw or undercooked eggs since eggshells are frequently contaminated with bird droppings.

Wild birds and the global epidemiology of Avian Influenza viruses

Because wild birds serve as natural hosts as well as reservoirs for all forms of avian influenza viruses, they play an important role in their evolution, maintenance, and dissemination. Waterfowls, gulls, as well as shorebirds are the main wild species affected, however the virus appears to spread rapidly among other bird species.

Infection appears to be seasonal, with the largest rates of isolation in juvenile birds occurring in the fall of the year.

Several routes of wild bird virus transmission to poultry have been documented or speculated as the source of outbreaks. The most likely mode of transmission is direct contact with wild birds.

As a result, limiting awareness of poultry to wild birds through confinement rearing as well as other biosecurity metrics provides an opportunities to eliminate the risk of avian influenza virus introduction from wild birds, which is critical for reducing the risk of evolution into highly pathogenic forms, human exposure and infection, and recombination with human virus elements to form viruses that can not only cause disease but also easily spread among humans.


Avian influenza can infect people who come into close contact with infected birds.

While many human instances are restricted to conjunctivitis or minor respiratory infection, certain viruses have the potential to cause serious illness.

However, there is no indication that the AI virus may be transmitted to people through the ingestion of poultry or eggs fit for human consumption. Animals that have been slaughtered as a result of actions to control an AI outbreak should not be permitted to join the human food as well as animal feed chain as a preventive and regulatory measure, as well as cleaning and cooking precautions should be followed.

People May Ask

How Does Avian Influenza Infect Humans?

The majority of human cases of avian flu are thought to have been caused through contact with diseased birds or contaminated surfaces.

What Are The Symptoms Of Avian Influenza?

Some low-pathogenic viruses in poultry have the potential to evolve into highly pathogenic avian influenza viruses. HPAI stands for Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza. Infected chicken suffers from severe sickness and a high death rate due to highly pathogenic avian influenza viruses.

Is Avian Influenza Same As Flu?

The sickness induced by infection with avian (bird) influenza (flu) Type A viruses is known as avian influenza or bird flu.

What Is The Best Way To Prevent Avian Influenza?

The greatest way to avoid exposure is to stay away from it.


The opinions presented in this article should not be regarded as a replacement for medical advice. For more information, please contact your treating physician.

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