Avian Influenza is an infection caused by avian influenza (bird flu) viruses. The influenza viruses occur naturally among birds. Wild birds worldwide carry the viruses in their intestines, but usually do not get sick from them. However, avian influenza is very contagious among birds and can make some domesticated bird, including chickens,ducks, and turkeys, very sick and kill them.
Although there have been reports of humans becoming infected with the avian flu, the number of cases has been very low. So far, the spread of the H5N1 virus from person to person has been limited, and has not continued beyond one person. However, because all influenza viruses have the ability to change, scientists are concerned that the H5N1 virus one day might be able to infect humans, and spread easily from one person to another.
Help Prevent the Spread
Influenza virus is primarily spread by airborne droplets that reach the eyes, nose or mouth, but can also spread by touching contaminated surfaces and then touching your face. This highlights the importance of learning and practicing good personal hygiene, including:
- Wash hands frequently with soap and water.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
- Put used tissues in a wastebasket.
- Cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve if you do not have a tissue.
- Clean your hands after coughing or sneezing. Use soap and water or an alcohol-based hand cleaner.
- Stay at home if you are sick
FOR MORE INFORMATION PLEASE SEE: Bird Flu Fact Sheet