Avian or "Bird Flu"

Avian influenza is an infectious disease of birds caused by the influenza A virus. 

Birds are the hosts for most avian influenza viruses and a variety of influenza subtypes can be found in birds, particularly in water fowl and shore birds. Domestic poultry are especially vulnerable and the virus can rapidly cause epidemics in flocks. 

Human infections with avian influenza are rare. However, some viruses, such as H5N1 or H7N9, have been associated with human disease. Public Health routinely follows up all individuals who have been in contact with a confirmed case of avian influenza.

The symptoms of avian influenza in humans vary considerably depending on the strain or subtype of the virus involved. 

Most infections take the form of a flu-like illness (fever, cough, body or muscle pain, sore throat, runny nose). 

Other symptoms can include conjunctivitis (red, sore and discharging eyes). 

The DEFA website has information and guidance on: 

  • the latest avian flu situation
  • how to spot avian flu, including what to do if you suspect it
  • measures to prevent it 

The Food Standards Agency has said that on the basis of the current scientific evidence, avian influenza poses a very low food safety risk for consumers. Properly cooked poultry and poultry products, including eggs, are safe to eat.

Further links for advice and information on human health and Avian Flu link to: 

NHS page: Bird flu 

World Health Association (WHO): Influenza (Avian and other zoonotic) 

TravelHealth Pro: Travellers and Avian Flu

Added: 17 January 2022