What causes bird flu?
Avian influenza viruses occur naturally among birds. Wild birds worldwide may carry the viruses in their intestines. They usually do not become sick from them. Domesticated birds may become infected with avian influenza virus through direct contact with infected waterfowl or other infected poultry. They may also become infected by coming in contact with objects or food that has been contaminated with the virus.
People of all ages have contracted and died of bird flu. The risk is generally low to most people, because the non-mutated viruses do not usually infect humans. However, most cases of infection in humans have resulted from contact with infected poultry such as domesticated chickens, ducks and turkeys. Humans have become infected when they have come in contact with surfaces contaminated with secretion from infected birds. The spread of avian influenza viruses from one ill person to another has been reported.
The greatest risk factor for bird flu seems to be contact with sick birds, with surfaces contaminated by their feathers, saliva or droppings or with others that have contracted this version of the flu. Young children seem especially vulnerable to the virus. Some experts note that children in some countries are more likely to have contact with sick birds because they play on grounds contaminated with droppings.
To better understand the symptoms of bird flu, continue reading here. The next section on bird flu symptoms outlines the signs and symptoms of bird flu for those who think that they may be experiencing this illness. More here on bird flu symptoms.
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