Bird Flu or Avian Influenza or H5N1


Bird flu or Avian flu(H5N1)

Two types

  • Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza(HPAI):- This is severe form bird flu, fatal type causes death of most birds and humans
  • Low Pathogenic Avian Influenza(LPAI):- This less severe form of disease prevalent in some particular area and causing seasonal on and off symptoms

Bird flu or Avian flu

  • A severe form of bird flu, often fatal type of influenza that especially affects birds, especially poultry and wild ducks, and that can also be transmitted to humans

Intubation Period

Humans after exposed to infected bird, within 2-5 days the symptoms of bird flu will start

Signs and Symptoms

  • It may vary person to person
  • Symptoms may start  like normal flu like symptoms and then worsens to severe respiratory disease like pneumonia or sepsis
  • Running nose, low grade to moderate fever, head ache, body pain, diarrhea etc


  • Diagnosis mainly by clinical symptoms and history
  • Swab from nose ,upper or lower respiratory tract
  • Molecular test :-  RT-PCR
  • Rapid Influenza Diagnostic Test :- lower sensitivity when compared to PCR test

How do humans get bird flu?

  • Close contact with birds or droppings
  • Cleaning or plucking of infected birds
  • Inhalation of aerosolized materials from open market
  • Swimming or bathing in water contaminated with the infected droppings of birds
  • By handling of fighting cock
  • Eating of Undercooked chicken or egg


  • Person to person transmission is rarely seen
  • Use fully cooked chicken or egg
  • Reduce contact with birds or its droppings
  • Use Personal protective equipment (PPE) ie,  use of cap, gown, gloves, face mask, shoes with covering etc while working in poultry
  • Personal and hand hygiene is most important
  • Avoid contact with wild cock or ducks
  • Avoid roaming in open market
  • Isolation of infected person


  • Early treatment with Antiviral drugs is seen effective in most cases(Within 48 hrs)
  • Oseltamivir( Tamiflu), Zanamivir(Relenza), Peramivir(Rapivab),  are useful antiviral drugs
  • Hospitalization and intensive care required in later stage of disease

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