Bird Flu General Info

Also known as avian influenza, bird flu is a disease that occurs mainly in wild birds worldwide. The virus responsible for this is known as A H5N1. If it is not very harmful in wild birds, it can cause serious problems for domesticated birds such as chicken ducks and turkeys.

Usually this virus does not affect humans, but around 200 cases have been confirmed since 1997. Because of the potential for it to spread to the human population exists, it is closely monitored when it does occur in humans.

Symptoms of bird flu range from common flu symptoms such as fever, cough, sore throat, and muscle aches to eye infections, pneumonia, sever respiratory diseases and other life threatening complications. They symptoms can vary depending on the strain of the virus you are infected with.

Bird flu is present in parts of Asia, Europe, and Near East and Africa. Human cases have been reported in some countries. It has not been currently reported in the United States.

Travel is not recommended to countries that are affected by avian flu. If there is an outbreak among domestic birds in that country, there is a possibility for people to come into close contact with the infected birds or their feces. This is the most common way people will get infected with bird flu. Eating improperly cooked poultry eggs could also lead to bird flu.  A rare case of human to human transmission of bird flu has occurred in Indonesia.

You should make thorough preparations before travelling to an area where bird flu has been present. You should be up to date with all your vaccinations before you leave. A first aid travel health kit should be brought along containing basic medications. Visit the CDC’s Travelers’ Health website

During travel you must avoid area where live birds, such as chicken are living. Common things such as washing you hands with soap, and covering you mouth when sneezing and coughing should not be avoided.

If you think you might have become infected with bird flu after recent travels you should watch your health for 10 days. If you have a fever along with cough, sore throat and breathing problems you should see a doctor. You should wear a mask to keep the disease from spreading. Tell you doctor about your recent travels.

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