Avian influenza - known informally as avian flu or bird flu - refers to "influenza caused by viruses adapted to birds." Of the greatest concern is highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI).
It can affect commercial, wild and pet birds including chickens, duck, turkeys and geese. There are many types of viruses but the type that is causing concern at the moment is the influenza A strain H5N1.
Avian flu passes from birds to other birds and humans by infected birds. All most all the people have contracted the virus following close or direct contact with infected birds. Human to human transmission is possible but only a single case has been reported up to now.
People can infect the disease by being close to live infected birds, including any of the following types of contact: touching infected birds, being in contact with their saliva or fluids from their nose, or being in contact with, or inhaling dried dust from their droppings.
Another source can be live markets where birds are sold in unsanitary (unclean) conditions, so avoid visiting these if you are traveling in countries that have had an outbreak.
The time from infection to the start of symptoms is usually between 3 and 5 days. The symptoms can last for a week. Symptoms are similar at first to other types of human flu symptoms like fever, cough, sore throat, muscle aches, conjunctivitis and diarrhea .
However, these symptoms become quickly worsen over a few days to include severe breathing problems and severe pneumonia which may result in death.
Anti viral drugs - Tami flu, oseltamivir etc is used to treat severe disease and patients who fall in to high risk group.
Following simple measures taken during cooking can prevent the spread of the disease.
Respiratory difficulties, swelling of feet, or around the beak , nasal secretions, diarrhea, poor feeding and reduction in number of eggs produced. Death of large number of birds also can indicate the possibility of birds flu among your poultry.