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Bird Flu Diagnosis

Bird Flu Diagnosis
Bird Flu
Causes and Risk Factors

Diagnosis of the bird flu is based on the appearance of classic signs and symptoms of the flu, a history of travel to a country or area where bird flu is found and/or evidence of prolonged bird exposure. Also, laboratory tests are available in order to confirm this diagnosis.

Doctors must diagnose bird flu very quickly in the cycle of the disease when an infected person is most likely to be contagious. To confirm a diagnosis of an H5N1 influenza infection, doctors collect a respiratory specimen within the first 4 to 5 days of illness. Some people, especially children, may be infectious for 10 days or longer.

Medical exams
In order to diagnose the bird flu, the doctor will conduct a physical exam, paying special attention to lung/pulmonary sounds.  Blood tests will be ordered in addition to nasal and/or sputum specimens being collected to send to the laboratory.

Rapid testing - One of the confirmatory tests performed in the laboratory is called the rapid test for Avian Influenza A Virus in Humans. This test detects influenza A/H5N1 in respiratory specimens which can identify the strain in less than 40 minutes. Other tests that identify this influenza A virus subtype exist but they can take three or four hours to produce results.

Once a diagnosis of bird flu has been made, the person can begin treatment. Treatment for bird flu will usually be managed with medications, hydration and rest. To learn more about bird flu treatment, read the treating bird flu section that follows for more information, including info on the bird flu vaccine.

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