Avian Flu (Bird Flu) Symptoms in Birds & Humans

Know the signs indicating that birds are infected with avian influenza viruses.

Understanding the signs and symptoms of the avian flu is important for immediate treatment to take place. Use the information below to learn about the symptoms of avian flu for birds and humans, and what to do if an outbreak occurs. Symptoms vary depending on: virus strain, age and species of infected birds, other bacterial disease and the environment.

It is also important to take precautions to prevent the outbreak of the avian flu. Learn about Gempler's selection of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to help protect yourself against an outbreak.

Avian Flu Symptoms for Birds

  • Sudden death without any signs
  • Lack of coordination
  • Purple discoloration of the wattles, combs, and legs
  • Soft-shelled or misshapen eggs
  • Lack of energy and appetite
  • Diarrhea
  • Swelling of the head, eyelids, comb, wattles and hocks
  • Nasal discharge
  • Decreased egg production
  • Coughing, sneezing

Poultry workers should be aware of the signs of avian influenza in poultry, so they can take immediate steps to protect themselves and other workers, quarantine the farm to prevent the spread of disease, and report the disease to the responsible animal health authorities.

Avian Flu Symptoms for Humans

All poultry workers should know the signs and symptoms of avian influenza virus infection in humans so that measures can be taken for immediate treatment. The signs and symptoms may include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Conjunctivitis (eye infections)
  • Muscle aches

Infection with avian influenza viruses can also lead to:

  • Pneumonia
  • Acute respiratory distress
  • Other severe and life-threatening complications

A worker who experiences any of these symptoms or illnesses, or who may have been exposed to the avian influenza virus, should seek medical care and tell the healthcare provider before arrival that exposure to the avian influenza virus may have occurred.

Take anti-viral medication & get the current influenza vaccine if appropriate In the event of an avian influenza outbreak, workers who will be involved in disease control and eradication activities should consult their healthcare provider about the advisability of taking anti-viral medications for influenza. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has recommended that workers receive a daily influenza antiviral drug for the entire time they are in direct contact with infected poultry or contaminated surfaces.

The CDC recommends workers involved in avian influenza disease control and eradication activities should also get the current season's human general influenza vaccine. These precautionary measures could reduce the possibility of infection with avian and human influenza viruses.