ABC Medical Center > Avian flu (bird flu)

What is Avian flu (bird flu)?

21:54 - 4 May , 2021


This viral disease is caused by the avian flu virus type A, in which only a couple of strains have come to infect humans. This virus is found naturally in wild birds, who usually do not show symptoms, but can infect domestic birds such as chickens, turkeys, and ducks.

When people come into contact with poultry or their feces and secretions, although it is not common, they can develop the disease, sometimes with fatal consequences. There is a global concern that some of the virus mutations could develop a greater ability to spread from one person to another causing a pandemic.
For this reason, there are multiple scientific instances investigating the development of a vaccine that protects us from this virus and allows us to prevent this possible fateful event.

Signs and symptoms Avian flu (bird flu)

The characteristic symptoms appear between three and eight days after infection, being similar to those of human influenza:

  • Sore joints and muscles.
  • Headache.
  • Trouble breathing.
  • Coughing fits.
  • High fever.
  • Sore throat.
  • Nausea.
  • Vomit.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Conjunctivitis.

If you have any of these symptoms and have recently visited a farm, a market with live animals, or had contact with birds, go to your doctor and tell them about these situations.

The possible complications of avian flu are diverse and can be life-threatening, such as:

  • Heart conditions.
  • Pneumonia.
  • Respiratory failure.
  • Kidney failure.

In addition to avoiding contact with poultry, it is recommended to maintain strict hygiene when handling or preparing food containing poultry meat and eggs, which must be cooked properly.

Diagnosis and treatment Avian flu (bird flu)

Once your doctor analyzes your symptoms and clinical history, they will perform a physical examination and take samples of your nasal and pharyngeal secretions to analyze them in the laboratory and identify if the virus is present.

Likewise, they will request chest X-rays and other imaging studies to observe the lung involvement that the virus may have caused.

When the diagnosis is confirmed, the treatment to follow will depend on the symptoms’ magnitude and your general health, but in all cases an antiviral, or a combination of several of them, is usually prescribed since the virus has developed resistance to some of these drugs.

Additionally, if there is any secondary bacterial infection, it should be treated with the appropriate medications.

At ABC Medical Center’s Internal Medicine Department, we offer health care services with the highest quality and safety, from the prevention, diagnosis, timely treatment, and monitoring of infectious, respiratory, endocrinological, dermatological, rheumatic, nephrological, gastrointestinal, and hematological pathologies of both chronic-degenerative diseases and acute conditions, through a comprehensive and multidisciplinary model.


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