The naturally occurring flu virus in the birds causes the Bird Flu in the avians. This disease is also termed as the Avian influenza. Usually the wild birds are the carriers of this deadly virus. Unbelievable but true, they themselves remain unaffected by them. This virus in turn spreads to the other domesticated birds like the chickens, turkeys and ducks, who are the ones that get affected. The virus after developing further in their body causes sickness and sometimes even death in the infected birds.
The symptoms after the infection of the flu virus ranges widely. The infected bird might suffer from some mild symptoms like low rate of egg production and even ruffled feathers. And the symptoms can be as severe as failure of the various organs of the bird resulting in the death of the bird within 48 hours of viral infection.
Humans are generally not infected by this virus. But still there have been several reported cases of human infection. A human can encounter this virus only if he is directly or indirectly in contact with the infected domesticated birds. Once a human being is infected he will show symptoms like high fever, sore throat, muscle cramps and cough. These are all the common symptoms that you come across in a flu. In the severe form of the disease, symptoms like Pneumonia, eye infections and various acute respiratory disorders can be seen. All the symptoms depend on the strain of virus with which the person is infected.
But these symptoms are not the final verdict on the confirmation of an infection by the virus. This is because all the symptoms that have been discussed above are the common symptoms for a typical flu and the various other viral infections. So in order to diagnose the viral presence properly, you need to have some pathological tests done. Within the first few days of the appearance of any of the symptoms, take a little swab of your nose or the throat to a laboratory for the required tests. In some cases a blood test may also be needed to be done.
There are many flu viruses that infect the birds and the humans. But only the H5N1 virus is the most deadly of them all, killing many at one go.
There is a general perception among the people that eating egg or chicken products can infect them with the virus. But this is not true. The bird flu virus is destroyed, if present in food product if they are properly cooked. Proper cooking also kills the other viruses and bacterias present in the food products.
Avian bird flu is not very contagious among the human. But if you remain in very close proximity with an infected person, there are chances that the virus passes on to you. The biggest concern with the bird flu virus is that, they mutate. Their mutation can be the only reason for it to take a shape of a pandemic.
Currently no vaccine is available for avian bird flu. There are only some preventive measures that you can follow to protect from this virus. Of them the most important is the maintenance of proper personal hygiene.