Bird Flu

Avian influenza refers to a respiratory disease caused by infection with avian influenza A viruses. It primarily affects poultry and other bird species, including migratory waterfowl, but can also affect other animals. H5N1 is one of the subtypes of avian influenza virus that can cause disease in humans and many other animal species.

According to the World Health Organization, more than 850 people were infected with H5N1 between 2003 and 2016 and about 50 percent of those people died.

There is currently a significant increase in avian flu outbreaks around the world. In Spain, up to 149 outbreaks were reported between 2022 and 2023, which is 50 times more outbreaks than in previous years.

In February 2023, Cambodian authorities reported two new cases of bird flu in humans, including an 11-year-old girl who died from the virus.

Transmission of avian influenza

The most common way for the virus to enter a territory is through migratory wild birds.

Infected birds transmit the avian flu virus through their saliva, mucus and feces.

Almost all cases of H5N1 infection in people have been associated with close contact with live or dead infected birds.

Human infections with avian influenza viruses can occur when the virus comes into contact with a person’s eyes, nose, or mouth, or is inhaled.

This can happen when the virus is in the air (in droplets or dust) and a person breathes it in, or possibly when a person touches something that has the virus on it and then touches their mouth, eyes, or nose.


Plucking, handling infected poultry carcasses, and preparing poultry for consumption, especially in domestic settings, are also risk factors.

You cannot get bird flu from eating fully cooked poultry or eggs, even in areas with a bird flu outbreak.

Person-to-person transmission is possible, but is much more difficult without prolonged contact.

Symptoms of bird flu in humans

Symptoms of bird flu in humans are similar to those of regular influenza and include:

  • Fever
  • Sore throat
  • Cough
  • Headache
  • Muscle pain

Other early symptoms may include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Stomachache
  • Chest pain
  • Bleeding from the nose and gums
  • Conjunctivitis

Treatment for bird flu

People who become ill within 10 days of exposure to infected birds should isolate themselves at home away from members of their household and should not go to work or school until they are proven free of HIV infection. avian influenza and have recovered from their illness.

Several antiviral drugs used to treat human influenza such as oseltamivir or zanamivir are also effective for bird flu.

Antiviral medications help reduce the severity of the condition, prevent complications, and improve the chances of survival.


As a precaution, direct contact with wild birds should be avoided and they should only be observed from a distance.

Wild birds can be infected with avian influenza viruses, even if they do not appear sick.

Avoid unprotected contact with domestic birds (poultry) that appear sick or have died.

Abbas Jahangir

I am a researcher and writer with a background in food and nutritional science. I am the founder of, our reputable online platform offering scientifically-backed articles on health, food, nutrition, kitchen tips, recipes, diet, and fitness. With a commitment to providing accurate and reliable information, we strive to empower our readers to make informed decisions about their health and lifestyle choices. Join us on's journey toward a healthier and happier lifestyle.

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