Avian influenza, or bird flu, which is caused by strain A of the flu virus, is an infectious disease which affects both wild and domesticated birds. This infection, which can be transmitted between birds, can be either benign or fatal, and can cause serious epidemics.
In principle, bird flu does not affect people.
However, in exceptional circumstances, highly pathogenic strains can cause serious respiratory illnesses in humans.
Bird flu is transmitted mainly:
- in the air;
- by direct contact with the respiratory secretions and excrements of sick animals;
- by exposure to contaminated materials (food, water, equipment and clothing).