Although avian influenza A viruses usually do not infect people, rare cases of human infection with these viruses have been reported. Infected birds shed avian influenza virus in their saliva, mucous and feces. This can happen when virus is in the air in droplets or possibly dust and a person breathes it in, or when a person touches something that has virus on it then touches their mouth, eyes or nose. Rare human infections with some avian viruses have occurred most often after unprotected contact with infected birds or surfaces contaminated with avian influenza viruses. However, some infections have been identified where direct contact was not known to have occurred. Illness in people has ranged from mild to severe.
Influenza A virus subtype H5N1
What is the Asian Flu? (with pictures)
Influenza — also known as the flu — is a contagious viral infection that attacks your respiratory system. Influenza viruses that infect humans can be classified into three main groups: A, B, and C. Type A influenza infection can be serious and cause widespread outbreaks and disease. Common symptoms of type A infection can be confused with other conditions. While in some milder cases the flu can resolve on its own without significant symptoms, severe cases of type A influenza can be life-threatening.
What is the Asian Flu?
Bird flu, also called avian influenza, is a viral infection that can infect not only birds, but also humans and other animals. Most forms of the virus are restricted to birds. H5N1 is the most common form of bird flu. According to the World Health Organization , H5N1 was first discovered in humans in and has killed nearly 60 percent of those infected. Still, some experts worry that H5N1 may pose a risk of becoming a pandemic threat to humans.
Bird flu is caused by a type of influenza virus that rarely infects humans. More than a dozen types of bird flu have been identified, including the two strains that have most recently infected humans — H5N1 and H7N9. When bird flu does strike humans, it can be deadly. Most people who have developed symptoms of bird flu have had close contact with sick birds.