Bird flu (avian influenza/avian flu) is a disease caused by an influenza virus (H5N1) that primarily affects birds.
Bird flu is a fatal disease of chickens, turkeys, guinea fowls, and other avian species, especially migratory waterfowl. This virus that causes the bird infection can mutate to infect humans.
It is a contagious disease and spreads from person to person through respiratory droplets while coughing and sneezing. The flu is different from a cold and the symptoms can vary from a mild disease with little or no mortality to a highly fatal, rapidly spreading epidemic depending on the infecting virus strain, host factors and environmental stressors.
Anyone including healthy people can contact avian flu, and serious problems from influenza may appear at any age. People at risk for developing bird flu are -
Farmers and other poultry workers
Travelers visiting affected countries
Those who eat raw or undercooked poultry meat, eggs, or blood from infected birds
Fever, headache, body ache, sore throat, nasal congestion and dry cough are some of the symptoms of bird flu. Treatment of bird flu involves isolation of the patient and taking the antiviral medication, oseltamivir.