Mary D. Nettleman, MD, MS, MACP is the Chair of the Department of Medicine at Michigan State University. She is a graduate of Vanderbilt Medical School, and completed her residency in Internal Medicine and a fellowship in Infectious Diseases at Indiana University.
Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.
John P. Cunha, DO, is a U.S. board-certified Emergency Medicine Physician. Dr. Cunha's educational background includes a BS in Biology from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, and a DO from the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences in Kansas City, MO. He completed residency training in Emergency Medicine at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in Newark, New Jersey.
Definitive diagnosis requires identification of the viral strain by immunological tests.
Treatment may include antiviral medication and often requires intensive supportive care.
Control efforts, including culling infected flocks and vaccinating healthy birds,
have limited the spread of highly pathogenic bird flu strains.
In 2011, a mutated strain of highly pathogenic bird flu appeared, H5N1, which is concerning because the existing poultry vaccines are not very effective against the H5N1strain; in 2013, a new strain, H7N9, appeared in China.
Human infection with highly pathogenic strains of bird flu is uncommon, with about 622 cases reported as of March 2013 since 1997.
Human infection occurs primarily in people who have close contact with sick poultry in countries where the virus is found; there have been isolated cases of human-to-human transmission.
There is no commercially available vaccine for humans against bird flu strains; human infection with bird flu is fatal in approximately 60% of infected humans, but only a small number of humans have become infected since 1997.
Bird flu from the highly pathogenic strains (for example H5N1) is not found in the United States at this time in birds or humans.
Read more about the recent outbreak of bird flu in China
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Dennis Lee, MD
Bird flu (also referred to as avian flu), as the name implies, is an infection in birds caused by an influenza virus. Influenzaviruses that infect birds often do not cause illness in birds. Since the viruses are highly contagious, danger to humans arises when domesticated birds (for example chickens, ducks, and turkeys) become infected. While bird flu usually poses no threat to humans, instances of transmission of bird flu to humans have been reported since 1997, and over 100 people were infected in an outbreak that began in Southeast Asia in mid-2003. In November 2010, officials in Hong Kong announced that a woman had contracted bird flu, the first reported case of the condition in seven years. The 59-year-old woman had recently traveled to mainland China but reported no contact with live poultry or visits to farms.