Virus Home > Bird Flu Symptoms

In humans, bird flu symptoms can include typical influenza-like symptoms, such as fever, cough, sore throat, and muscle aches. Less severe symptoms can also include eye infections (conjunctivitis). More serious symptoms of bird flu include pneumonia, acute respiratory distress, viral pneumonia, and other life-threatening complications.

An Overview of Bird Flu Symptoms

Bird flu (also called avian influenza) is an infection caused by bird flu viruses. These viruses occur naturally among birds. Wild birds worldwide carry the viruses in their intestines, but usually do not get sick from them. However, bird flu is highly contagious among birds and can make some domesticated birds, including chickens, ducks, and turkeys, very sick and kill them. To date, bird flu transmission to humans has occurred only rarely.

Symptoms of Bird Flu in Birds

Infection with bird flu in domestic poultry causes two main forms of disease that are distinguished by low and high extremes of virulence. The "low pathogenic" form may go undetected and usually causes only mild bird flu symptoms, which include ruffled feathers and a drop in egg production. The highly pathogenic form spreads more rapidly through flocks of poultry. This form may cause disease that affects multiple internal organs, and it has a mortality rate that can reach 90 to 100 percent, often within 48 hours.

Bird Flu Symptoms in Humans

Bird flu symptoms in humans can include typical influenza-like symptoms, such as:
Less severe symptoms can also include eye infections (conjunctivitis).
More serious symptoms of bird flu include:
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Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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