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Bird Flu – Causes and Symptoms of Bird Flu

Bird Flu is a type of influenza that is caused by viruses which are of the avian species and hence also called avian flu. These infections are caused due to the different influenza virus strains that gets adapted to a particular host. More than half the people infected with this flu die of the disease. Humans may get bird flu from contact with infected birds like chicken and through bird droppings that are infected. Birds have been affected with avian influenza in Asia, Europe and Africa.

Causes of Bird flu
The main cause of this infection is the virus. They include:

  • The different viruses that cause bird flu in the birds belong to the species of influenza A.
  • All the subtypes of this virus are of the avian species.
  • Bird flu occurs due to the H5N1 virus strain that is a subtype of the influenza virus.
  • The H5N1 virus that causes bird flu is known as HPAI A.
  • This virus strain has caused epidemics in many species of birds.
  • Bird flu happens naturally in wild waterfowl and this can further spread to the domestic poultry.
  • The domestic poultry include chickens, turkeys, geese and ducks.
  • This disease is transmitted through the infected feces or secretions from the nose, mouth or eyes.
  • Open markets where birds and eggs are sold in unsanitary conditions are hotbeds of infection.

Symptoms of Bird flu
The signs and symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Sore throat
  • Cough and cold
  • Muscle aches
  • Running nose
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Difficulty in breathing

Complications
People with bird flu may develop life-threatening complications. This flu kills more than the people it infects and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have estimated that seasonal influenza is the main cause for tens of thousands of deaths each year in the United States alone. Some of the complications include:

  • Pneumonia
  • Respiratory failure
  • Heart problems
  • Collapsed lungs
  • Kidney dysfunction

When to consult your doctor?
When you find the above symptoms, see your doctor immediately before complications arise and the condition of the patient worsens.

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