What is avian influenza or “bird flu”?Avian influenza is different than seasonal influenza. It is a an infectious viral disease mainly affecting birds. These viruses occur naturally worldwide among wild aquatic birds, and can infect domestic poultry and other bird and animal species. On rare occasions it can be spread to humans through close contact with infected birds.
Spread from person to person appears to be highly unusual. There is no evidence the disease can be spread to people through properly cooked food.
Since 2003, an avian influenza virus called H5N1 has been circulating in Asia and parts of Europe. This strain of influenza is highly deadly to poultry. Recently, a human case of H5N1, resulting in death, has been identified here in Alberta. The individual had a history of travel to Asia.
- There is no currnet vaccine available for H5N1
- Read more questions and answers about avian influenza H5N1
In March 2013, avian influenza A(H7N9) virus emerged in China, causing severe disease in humans.
- Currently the human infections are found only in China and there is no evidence of spread of H7N9 influenza from person to person.
- Read more about it and what Alberta is doing