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_____Avian Flu Facts_____

Q. What is avian flu?
Avian influenza is an infectious disease of birds caused by type A strains of the influenza virus. The disease, which was first identified in Italy more than 100 years ago, occurs worldwide.

Q. Is avian flu contagious?
Yes. All birds are thought to be susceptible to infection with avian influenza, though some species are more resistant to infection than others. The first documented infection of humans with an avian influenza virus occurred in Hong Kong in 1997, when the H5N1 strain caused severe respiratory disease in 18 humans, of whom 6 died.

Q. What are the symptoms of avian flu?
Published information on human infection is limited to studies of the 1997 Hong Kong outbreak. Symptoms included fever, sore throat, cough and, in several of the fatal cases, severe respiratory distress secondary to viral pneumonia.

Q. How do you treat avian flu?
The quarantining of infected farms and destruction of infected or potentially exposed flocks are standard control measures aimed at preventing spread to other farms and eventual establishment of the virus in a country’s poultry population.

Q. How can you protect yourself against avian flu?
Workers involved in the culling of poultry flocks must be protected, by proper clothing and equipment, against infection. These workers should also receive antiviral drugs as a prophylactic measure.

Q. How effective is the vaccine?
Vaccination of persons at high risk of exposure to infected poultry, using existing vaccines effective against currently circulating human influenza strains, can reduce the likelihood of co-infection of humans with avian and influenza strains.

WHO Fact Sheet
CDC: Avian Flu Information
Source: World Health Organization

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In the News
Metro: In Brief (Post, March 14, 2005)

Bird Flu Called Global Human Threat: Asia Outbreak Poses 'Gravest Possible Danger,' U.N. Official Says, Urging Controls (Post, Feb. 24, 2005)

Thai Farmers Worry Controls On Bird Flu Threaten Livelihoods: Duck Herders Told Flocks Could Be Infecting Other Animals (Post, Feb. 13, 2005)

As SE Asian Farms Boom, Stage Set for a Pandemic: Conditions Ripe for Spread of Bird Flu (Post, Feb. 5, 2005)

Federal Officials To Expand List Of Who Should Get Flu Vaccine (Post, Dec. 18, 2004)

Death in Thailand May Mark Progression of 'Bird Flu' (Post, Sept. 29, 2004)

Canada to Kill Millions of Birds as Flu Spreads (Post, April 6, 2004)

Live Bird Markets Stir Poultry Industry's Flu Fears (Post, March 25, 2004)

Eastern Shore Farmers Grapple With Avian Flu Outbreak (Post, March 9, 2004)

Md. Bans Live Poultry Sales as a Precaution: Avian Flu Prompts Call for Federal Help (Post, Feb. 12, 2004)

China Suspects More Outbreaks of Bird Flu: 14 Areas Across Nation May Be Affected; Late Disclosure of SARS Case Draws Concern (Post, Feb. 2, 2004)

Thailand Concedes Missteps on Bird Flu: Prime Minister Urges Transparency, Cooperation Following Denials of Outbreak (Post, Jan. 29, 2004)

Thailand Admits Mistakes in Handling of Bird Flu Outbreak (Post, Jan. 28, 2004; 12:06 PM)

Strategy on Bird Flu Has Human Risks, Officials Say: Lack of Safeguards In Poultry Slaughter May Help Alter Virus (Post, Jan. 28, 2004)

Thai Boy Dies From Bird Flu: Indonesia Reports Spread of Virus (Post, Jan. 26, 2004)

A Horror Script For Health Officials: Bird Flu Poses Global Epidemic Threat (Post, Jan. 25, 2004)

Two Thai Children Infected With Often Deadly Bird Flu (Post, Jan. 24, 2004)

Vietnamese Child Latest Bird Flu Fatality: Millions of Chickens Slaughtered in Asia to Prevent Spread of Dangerous Virus (Post, Jan. 18, 2004)

'Bird Flu' Leaves 12 People Dead in Vietnam, WHO Says (Post, Jan. 14, 2004)

Flu Virus From Bird Infects Boy in Asia: Experts Worried About Global Pandemic (Post, Dec. 14, 2003)

In Chinese Village, Few Clues to Illness: Researchers 'Looking for Magic Bullet' (Post, April 9, 2003)

Heat Curbs Area's Avian Flu Epidemic (Post, June 28, 2002)

Hong Kong Kills Fowl to Halt Bird Flu (Post, May 20, 2001)

`Bird Flu' Antibodies Found in Health Workers (Post, Feb. 24, 1998)

`Bird Flu' Crisis Called Over (Post, Jan. 24, 1998)

`Bird Flu' Virus Found in Ducks, Geese, WHO Says (Post, Jan. 17, 1998)

6th Victim Dies in `Bird Flu' Contagion (Post, Jan. 16, 1998)

`Bird Flu' Claims 5th Victim in Hong Kong (Post, Jan. 15, 1998)

Labs Struggle With Mysteries of Avian Virus (Post, Jan. 11, 1998)

Hong Kong to Compensate Poultry Industry (Post, Jan. 10, 1998)

World Responds Swiftly to Track `Bird Flu' Spread (Post, Jan. 11, 1998)

14th `Bird Flu' Case Confirmed in Hong Kong (Post, Jan. 2, 1998)

Hong Kong Acts to Combat Spread, Fears of Deadly `Bird Flu' (Post, Dec. 18, 1997)

Bird Flu Kills Teenager in Hong Kong (Post, Dec. 22, 1997)

`Bird Flu' Hospitalizes 11th Victim in Hong Kong (Post, Dec. 23, 1997)

4th Flu Victim Dies (Post, Dec. 24, 1997)

More Avian Flu Cases in Hong Kong (Post, Dec. 26, 1997)

`Bird Flu' Origin, How It Spreads Remain Mysteries (Post, Dec. 28, 1997)

Hong Kong Killing All Chickens In Fight Against `Bird Flu' Virus (Post, Dec. 29, 1997)

Hong Kong Destroys Its Chickens (Post, Dec. 30, 1997)

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