Human beings do not have immunity to the avian influenza. This disease occurs in birds; it has also mutated to infect some humans. Avian influenza in humans is called H5N1. Farmers who work with poultry and those who go to countries with a high incidence of avian flu are at greater risk for the disease. If many humans start to get H5N1 it could lead to a “worldwide epidemic,” notes the New York Times.
Diarrhea is a common symptom of avian flu. This symptom causes weakness and often hastens the spread of the disease to others via fecal contamination. Avian flu is highly contagious; the virus that causes this disease lingers on surfaces for long periods.
A sore throat is common during infection with avian flu, notes the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The throat pain may be intense. It may limit ability to eat certain foods and may also make it difficult to communicate.
A fever above 100.4 degrees F is a symptom of infection with avian flu. A fever that continues to be above normal is a sign a doctor should be contacted immediately, especially if there has been recent travel to a country with human cases of avian flu.
Pneumonia, viral pneumonia and acute respiratory distress are symptoms of avian flu infection, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Trouble breathing properly is another respiratory symptom. The disease will also cause a cough that is either dry or phlegm-producing. The respiratory symptoms linked to avian flu can progress to a life-threatening illness.
Conjunctivitis (eye infection) is a symptom of an avian flu infection. This disease blurs the vision and causes a red tinge to the eyeball, itching to the eye area and sensitivity to light.
A headache is another symptom of avian flu. Any kind of extreme head pain requires immediate medical attention–either through a visit to the emergency room or an appointment at the doctor’s office.
A feeling of general malaise is a common symptom. This disease saps energy due to a wide range of symptoms such as fever, cough, headache, muscle pain and diarrhea.
About this Author
Julia Bodeeb worked on staff in medical book/journal publishing for over a decade as a reporter, managing editor, and book acquisitions. She is now a writer at Bright Hub, Associated Content, and Seed. Ms. Bodeeb has a B.A. in English and postgraduate credits in psychology and law. She won a Pulitzer Center Global Issues/Citizen Voices Award in 2008.