Aquatic birds are the primary natural reservoir for most subtypes of influenza A viruses. Most cause asymptomatic or mild infection in birds, where the range of symptoms depends on the virus properties.
Avian Influenza (Bird Flu) | CIDRAP
Viruses that cause severe disease in poultry and result in high death rates are called highly pathogenic avian influenza HPAI. Viruses that cause mild disease in poultry are called low pathogenic avian influenza LPAI. Avian, swine and other zoonotic influenza infections in humans may cause disease ranging from mild upper respiratory infection fever and cough to rapid progression to severe pneumonia, acute respiratory distress syndrome, shock and even death.
Gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea, vomiting and diarrhea has been reported more frequently in A H5N1 infection. Conjunctivitis has also been reported in influenza A H7.
Disease features such as the incubation period, severity of symptoms and clinical outcome varies by the virus causing infection but mainly manifests with respiratory symptoms. In many patients infected by A H5 or A H7N9 avian influenza viruses, the disease has an aggressive clinical course. Upper respiratory tract symptoms such as sore throat or coryza are less common. Other symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain, bleeding from the nose or gums, encephalitis, and chest pain have also been reported in the clinical course of some patients. Complications of infection include severe pneumonia, hypoxemic respiratory failure, multi-organ dysfunction, septic shock, and secondary bacterial and fungal infections.
The case fatality rate for A H5 and A H7N9 subtype virus infections among humans is much higher than that of seasonal influenza infections. Only one fatal A H7N7 human infection has been reported in the Netherlands so far. For human infections with swine influenza viruses, most cases have been mild with a few cases hospitalized and very few reports of deaths resulting from infection.
In terms of transmission , human infections with avian and other zoonotic influenza viruses, though rare, have been reported sporadically. Human infections are primarily acquired through direct contact with infected animals or contaminated environments, but do not result in efficient transmission of these viruses between people. Since , this avian virus has spread from Asia to Europe and Africa, and has become endemic in poultry populations in some countries.
Outbreaks have resulted in millions of poultry infections, several hundred human cases, and many human deaths.
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The outbreaks in poultry have seriously impacted livelihoods, the economy and international trade in affected countries. Other avian influenza A H5 subtype viruses have also resulted in both outbreaks in poultry and human infections. In , human infections with A H7N9 virus were reported for the first time in China. Since then, the virus has spread in the poultry population across the country and resulted in over reported human cases and many human deaths.
Information on Avian Influenza
Some countries have also reported sporadic human infections with swine influenza viruses , particularly the A H1 and A H3 subtypes. For avian influenza A H5N1 virus infections in humans, current data indicate an incubation period averaging 2 to 5 days and ranging up to 17 days1. Pet shop employees, veterinarians or zookeepers. Research laboratory employees. Restaurant employees or others who handle raw poultry. The page includes sections on: Background Provides background information on Avian Influenza including source and transmission.
Hazard Recognition Highlights information on how to recognize the risk of infection. Medical Information Provides information on symptoms and treatment.
Standards Highlights OSHA requirements and related information that may be applicable in the event of possible worker exposure to Avian Influenza viruses. Control and Prevention Discusses strategies for controlling and preventing worker exposure to avian influenza.
Additional Resources Provides links and references to additional resources related to Avian Influenza. Quick Facts about Avian Influenza.
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Review records of work-related injuries and illnesses. March 13, - The avian flu is confirmed by officials in Myanmar. May 11, - Djibouti announces its first cases of H5N1 - several birds and one human. December 20, - The US Department of Health and Human Services releases a statement saying that the government is urging scientific journals to omit details from research they intend to publish on the transfer of H5N1 among mammals. There is concern that the information could be misused by terrorists. July 31, - Scientists announce that H3N8 , a new strain of avian flu, caused the death of more than baby seals in New England in March 31, - Chinese authorities report the first human cases of infection of avian flu H7N9 to the World Health Organization.
H7N9 has not previously been detected in humans. December 6, - A year-old woman infected with H10N8 dies in China, the first human fatality from this strain. January 8, - Canadian health officials confirm that a resident from Alberta has died from H5N1 avian flu, the first case of the virus in North America. It is also the first case of H5N1 infection ever imported by a traveler into a country where the virus is not present in poultry.
April 20, - Officials say more than five million hens will be euthanized after bird flu was detected at a commercial laying facility in northwest Iowa. According to the US Department of Agriculture, close to eight million cases of bird flu have been detected in 13 states since December. Health officials say there is little to no risk for transmission to humans with respect to H5N2. No human infections with the virus have ever been detected. The flock is estimated to contain around 10, birds. The statement adds that a number of those birds have died, and the remaining live birds at the premises are being "humanely" killed because of disease.
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