Avian Flu Symptoms

Avian Flu Symptoms

Symptoms of avian influenza in humans have ranged from typical human influenza-like symptoms (e.g., fever, cough, sore throat, and muscle aches) to eye infections, pneumonia, severe respiratory diseases (such as acute respiratory distress), and other severe and life-threatening complications. The symptoms of avian influenza may depend on which virus caused the infection.

Humans who catch a humanized Influenza A virus (in other words a human flu virus of type A) usually have symptoms that include fever, cough, sore throat, muscle aches, conjunctivitis and, in severe cases, severe breathing problems and pneumonia that may be fatal.

The severity of the infection will depend to a large part on the state of the infected person's immune system and if the victim has been exposed to the strain before, and is therefore partially immune. No one knows if these or other symptoms will be the symptoms of a humanized H5N1 flu.

Highly pathogenic H5N1 avian flu in a human is far worse, killing 50% of humans that catch it. In one case, a boy with H5N1 experienced diarrhea followed rapidly by a coma without developing respiratory or flu-like symptoms. There have been studies of the levels of cytokines in humans infected by the H5N1 flu virus.

Of particular concern is elevated levels of tumor necrosis factor alpha, a protein that is associated with tissue destruction at sites of infection and increased production of other cytokines. Flu virus-induced increases in the level of cytokines is also associated with flu symptoms including fever, chills, vomiting and headache.

Tissue damage associated with pathogenic flu virus infection can ultimately result in death. The inflammatory cascade triggered by H5N1 has been called a "cytokine storm" by some, because of what seems to be a positive feedback process of damage to the body resulting from immune system stimulation. H5N1 type flu virus induces higher levels of cytokines than the more common flu virus types such as H1N1.

Source: Department of Health and Human Services

 

 

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