Avian Flu Virus

Avian Flu Virus and Human Infections

Avian influenza A viruses of the subtypes H5 and H7, including H5N1, H7N7, and H7N3, have been associated with highly pathogenic viruses. Human infection with these viruses has ranged from mild (H7N3, H7N7) to severe and fatal (H7N7, H5N1).
 
Human illness due to infection with low pathogenic influenza viruses has been documented, including mild symptoms to influenza-like illness. Examples of low pathogenic influenza viruses that have infected humans include H7N7, H9N2, and H7N2.
 
In general, direct human infection with the avian flu virus occurs infrequently, and has been associated with direct contact with infected sick birds or infected dead birds (domestic poultry).
 
Three important avian flu viruses include:
 
  • Influenza A H5
  • Influenza A H7
  • Influenza A H9.
 
Influenza A H5
Key information about influenza A H5 is as follows:
 
  • There are potentially nine different subtypes of this avian flu virus
  • This virus can be highly pathogenic or low pathogenic
  • H5 infections have been documented among humans, sometimes causing severe illness and death.
 
Influenza A H7
Key information about influenza A H7 is as follows:
 
  • There are potentially nine different subtypes of this avian flu virus
  • This virus can be highly pathogenic or low pathogenic
  • H7 infection in humans is rare, but can occur among people who have direct contact with infected birds; symptoms may include conjunctivitis and/or upper respiratory symptoms.
 
Influenza A H9
Key information about influenza A H9 is as follows:
 
  • There are potentially nine different subtypes of this avian flu virus
  • This virus has been documented only in low pathogenic form
  • At least three H9 infections in humans have been confirmed.

Bird Flu Information

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