Thursday, February 16, 2006

Bird Flu Facts - what you should know

The Disease In Birds: Impact And Control Measures

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.

All birds are thought to be susceptible to infection with avian influenza, though some species are more resistant to infection than others. Infection causes a wide spectrum of symptoms in birds, ranging from mild illness to a highly contagious and rapidly fatal disease resulting in severe epidemics. The latter is known as "highly pathogenic avian influenza". This form is characterized by sudden onset, severe illness, and rapid death, with a mortality that can approach 100%.

Fifteen subtypes of influenza virus are known to infect birds, thus providing an extensive reservoir of influenza viruses potentially circulating in bird populations. To date, all outbreaks of the highly pathogenic form have been caused by influenza A viruses of subtypes H5 and H7.
Read More about Bird Flu