Avian influenza A (H5N1) virus
influenza A (H7N9) virus - CDC
Wisconsin actively monitors for human cases of avian influenza and has plans
in place to respond, if necessary. Currently, there is no imminent threat to
Wisconsin since there is little evidence of sustained human-to-human spread of
the bird flu in other parts of the world. It is difficult to predict if a bird
flu virus will become a pandemic, but Wisconsin has plans in place to respond to
that possibility, regardless of the source. You may also visit
flu.wisconsin.gov for more information.
Avian flu is caused by influenza viruses. The strain of flu that
occurred was called
H5N1and circulated in Africa, Asia, Europe
and the Middle East. These flu viruses occur naturally among
birds and they carry the viruses in their intestines, but usually do
not get sick from them. However, bird flu is very contagious among
birds and can make some domesticated birds, including chickens, ducks
and turkeys very sick and can kill them.
The avian flu strain that caused the outbreak can
spread from birds to people and cause serious illness and even death.
There is a chance that the virus could mutate to a new flu virus that
spreads easily from person to person. Because infections with new human
flu strains can't be prevented by the annual flu vaccine, no one will
be immune to the virus and making a safe vaccine that can prevent
infection with a new human virus can take months to manufacture.
Birds act as hosts to influenza viruses by carrying the virus in
their intestines and shedding it in bodily fluids, such as saliva,
nasal secretions and feces. Other birds become infected when they come
in contact with these fluids. Humans can become infected through
contact with infected poultry or contaminated fluids.
Symptoms of avian influenza in humans range from typical
influenza-like symptoms (fever, cough, sore throat, muscle aches)
to eye infections, pneumonia, acute respiratory distress, viral
pneumonia and other severe and life-threatening complications.
The virus circulating in Asia, Africa, Europe and the Middle East has not mutated to a point where it could
easily spread from person-to-person and it's difficult to predict if -
or when - that might happen, or if it will result in an influenza
pandemic. The people who have gotten the bird flu in those areas of the
been in direct contact with infected birds.
Health care providers will tell patients how to treat their
illness, depending on the severity of their symptoms. Treatment
may include hospitalization, supportive care and/or the use of
antivirals. Studies have shown that the one antiviral drug called Tamiflu
(oseltamivir) may possibly protect against the H5N1 strain of
Yes, it is safe to eat poultry that has been fully cooked. General
precautions should always be taken when handling any raw meat,
including raw eggs, to avoid possibly spreading germs. These measures
- Washing hands and surfaces before and after food preparation.
- Avoiding using the same utensils on raw meat as on other foods,
even cooked meat.
- Cooking raw meat thoroughly.
Note: The U.S. bans imports of poultry from areas where birds
are infected with the H5N1 virus.
Influenza Surveillance Coordinator
Wisconsin Division of Public Health
Bureau of Communicable Diseases
Phone 608-266-5326 | Fax 608-261-4976
Local Health Departments - Regional offices - Tribal agencies
March 14, 2014