What is Bird-flu?

 By: Cary Byrd
Over the past year, Bird Flu has been pasted on the headlines of every major media outlet in the nation. It seems like everybody is worried about it, but when I ask, no one can tell me exactly what it is. Is it as bad as everyone makes it out to be?

Bird flu which is also known as Avian flu, is a type of influenza that infects birds. The A type flu virus is most common in water fowl. Held in the intestine and then shed amongst other birds, the virus can spread rapidly, not affecting the host bird.

Although most common in water birds, domestic birds are susceptible to the Avian flu as well. According to the Center for Disease and Control, "Domesticated birds may become infected with avian influenza virus through direct contact with infected waterfowl or other infected poultry, or through contact with surfaces (such as dirt or cages) or materials (such as water or feed) that have been contaminated with virus. People, vehicles, and other inanimate objects such as cages can be vectors for the spread of influenza virus from one farm to another. When this happens, avian influenza outbreaks can occur among poultry. "

Infection in humans occurs when direct contact is made with poultry or a contaminated surface. Symptoms for bird flu are the same as typical influenza including fever, sore throat, and body aches. Although the symptoms are the same as typical influenza, the affect of Avian flu can potentially be life threatening.

If you become infected with the Avian or are experiencing regular flu like symptoms, the Center for Disease and Control recommends that you consult your physician immediately. In this case, it is good to error on the side of caution than to leave a potentially fatal disease go untreated.
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