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Bird Flu: Signs, Symptoms, and Complications


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Avian bird influenza signs resemble seasonal influenza (influenza) signs. These consist of typical signs such as fever, cough, aching throat and runny nose, body discomforts and headache, extreme fatigue and tiredness, pink eye, and trouble breathing.

How Bird Flu Spreads

Birds get the influenza similar to human beings. The kinds of birds that can end up being contaminated with bird influenza and spread it to human beings consist of chickens, ducks, swans, geese, and turkeys. Though avian bird influenza infections (unique type A influenza infections) do not normally contaminate human beings, they still can and do in some cases. Sudden and erratic break outs around the globe have actually taken place. Infection can take place after direct exposure to type A virus-infected birds, direct exposure to a contaminated individual, or direct exposure in a lab setting.

In this short article, you’ll learn more about the regular signs of avian bird influenza and what health problems are related to it. You’ll likewise learn how to minimize the danger of bird influenza problems.

Grace Cary / Getty Images

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Frequent Symptoms

Frequent signs of bird influenza can vary in seriousness from no signs at all to moderate signs to extreme signs that can result in more health problems.

Common moderate signs of bird influenza consist of:

  • Feeling feverish or having a fever of 100 degrees Fahrenheit or higher
  • Chills
  • Cough and aching throat
  • Congestion (stuffy nose)
  • Runny nose
  • Excessive fatigue or tiredness
  • Body pains and discomforts
  • Headache and stress
  • Teary eyes or watery eyes
  • Pink eye or eye soreness (conjunctivitis)
  • Diarrhea
  • Breathing difficulties (such as shortness of breath)

It is necessary to note that all cases of bird influenza disease present with fever as a sign.

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Signs of Severe Bird Flu Illness

Moderate to severe or extreme disease from bird influenza is defined by the following signs:

  • Increased trouble breathing (such as labored breathing)
  • Altered frame of mind consisting of confusion
  • Seizures

Even though signs might exist, a medical sign check alone cannot detect an individual with avian bird influenza. To verify a case, lab screening is required. Testing for avian bird influenza resembles other influenza infection screening (for instance, gathering a sample from the nose or throat with a cotton bud).

Testing Timeline for Symptoms of Bird Flu

Testing is most precise within the very first couple of days of disease or signs.

If an individual is already in crucial condition (e.g., experiencing extreme signs and a common swab might not be possible or offer the most precise outcomes), then sample collection from the lower breathing system might likewise help to detect signs of avian bird influenza.

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How to Respond to Bird Flu Symptoms

If you have signs of bird influenza, remember your personal danger aspects and think about the possibility of your direct exposure to the infection versus, state, seasonal influenza. Bird influenza is not typical in human beings. However, if you operate in a farming environment that frequently needs contact with or in a location where there is a previous or existing break out, make certain to call your safety officer or public health department at the very first indication of signs. They will examine your danger of direct exposure and recommend you on the very best next actions along with where you can get evaluated for infection. Self-tracking of signs is required for 10 days following direct exposure.


Complications related to bird influenza can show deadly sometimes.

Risks of health problems related to bird influenza are greater in individuals with weakened body immune systems, in individuals over the age of 65, and in individuals who are pregnant.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, problems of bird influenza can consist of:

  • Pneumonia
  • Respiratory failure
  • Acute breathing distress syndrome
  • Multiple organ failure
  • Meningoencephalitis (severe brain swelling)

How to Reduce Risk of Health Complications

Avoiding health problems related to avian bird influenza implies getting antiviral treatment as quickly as possible. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says information from antiviral treatment research studies of individuals with seasonal influenza reveals antiviral treatment is most efficient when administered early on after direct exposure and particularly within 2 days of sign beginning.


Avian bird influenza signs are extremely comparable to those of seasonal influenza or seasonal influenza. They consist of common influenza signs like sensation feverish and experiencing body chills, coughing, aching throat, eye tearing, eye soreness or inflammation, headache and body pains, runny or busy (stuffy) nose, muscle discomforts and body discomfort, diarrhea, and trouble breathing or shortness of breath. Fever might or might not provide with avian bird influenza signs. Severe signs consist of increased trouble in breathing, frame of mind modifications consisting of confusion, and seizures. Complications related to bird influenza infection consist of pneumonia, breathing distress and failure, numerous organ failure, and extreme brain swelling. Treatment with antiviral medication as quickly as possible is required to minimize the danger of problems.

Verywell Health utilizes just premium sources, consisting of peer-reviewed research studies, to support the realities within our short articles. Read our editorial procedure to find out more about how we fact-check and keep our material precise, trusted, and trustworthy.

By Michelle Pugle

Michelle Pugle, BACHELOR’S DEGREE, MA, is a skilled health author with almost a years of contributing precise and available health news and info to authority sites and print publications. Her work concentrates on way of life management, persistent disease, and psychological health. Michelle is the author of Ana, Mia & Me: A Memoir From an Anorexic Teen Mind. 

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