Avian influenza refers to the disease caused by infection with avian (bird) influenza (flu) Type A viruses. These viruses occur naturally among wild aquatic birds worldwide and can infect domestic poultry and other bird and animal species.
Causes and Treatment
The disease is transmitted to humans through contact with infected bird feces, nasal secretions, or secretions from the mouth or eyes. In most cases, treatment with antiviral medication such as oseltamivir (Tamiflu) or zanamivir (Relenza) can help reduce the severity of the disease. However, the medication must be given within 48 hours after symptoms first appear.
Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5 infections have been reported in U.S. domestic poultry (backyard and commercial flocks), captive wild birds, and wild birds by the U.S.A. From December 2014-mid June 2015, H5 bird flu virus detections were reported in 21 U.S. states (15 states with outbreaks in domestic poultry or captive birds and 6 states with H5 detections in wild birds only). It is possible that H5 outbreaks in birds in the United States may recur in the fall and winter. Surveillance for H5 in U.S. birds is ongoing.