H5n1 Avian Flu Symptoms

Avian flu symptoms are much like regular flu symptoms, which is why many people don’t know it when they’ve contracted avian influenza. You’ll want to understand the symptoms of bird flu, particularly if you’re at risk for the disease. Being aware of these symptoms will help you to detect the disease early, which is often crucial for successful treatment.

Primary Bird Flu Symptoms

As previously mentioned, the primary symptoms associated with avian influenza mimic those of a regular flu. These flu symptoms include:

  • Cough
  • Fever
  • Muscle pains
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sore throat.

Some people may also experience intense waves of nausea, though this is rare in cases of bird flu.

Secondary/Severe Flu Symptoms

If the bird flu is not detected quickly enough, various severe flu symptoms can emerge. These late bird flu symptoms include:

While these symptoms are rare, they can become fatal if left untreated. If you have been in contact with potentially infected birds and you’re exhibiting many of the above symptoms, you may have the bird flu.

Do You Have Bird Flu?

Remember that the vast majority of flu cases are not avian flu and not fatal. Even though the common flu resembles the bird flu, symptoms rarely indicate an avian flu infection.

One of the crucial steps in diagnosing bird flu is determining whether you’ve been exposed to the virus.

Seek medical attention if you have recently:

  • Come in close contact with a bird’s feces or face
  • Had direct contact with a dead bird
  • Had direct contact with someone who has the avian flu
  • Traveled to a country that has had an avian influenza outbreak (particularly if you’ve been in a farmer’s market or on a farm).

If you’re not at direct risk for avian flu, your doctor will likely put you on a treatment plan similar to that of the regular flu, which typically includes:


BBC News Staff. (2009). Avian flu (bird flu). Retrieved April 13, 2010, from the BBC News Web site: http://www.bbc.co.uk/health/physical_health/conditions/birdflu1.shtml.

New York Times Staff. (2010). Avian influenza. Retrieved April 13, 2010, from the New York Times Web site: http://health.nytimes.com/health/guides/disease/avian-influenza/overview.html.

U.S. Government Staff. (2010). About the flu. Retrieved April 13, 2010, from the U.S. Government Web site: http://www.flu.gov/individualfamily/about/index.html.