Avian influenza (or bird flu) is a lung and airway disease found in birds, and it is caused by the influenza virus. This viral infection can also spread to humans, so if your bird is infected, seek immediate treatment and take all necessary precautions to prevent an outbreak of bird flu.
Because of its infectious potential to humans, any breakout of avian influenza has to be reported to Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the United States. Recently, a ban has been placed on imported pet birds from countries where bird flu has been reported (i.e., certain African, Asian and European countries).
To make sure your new bird does not have avian influenza, get it examined by a veterinarian for infectious diseases and inquire about the bird’s origins.
Symptoms and Types
The symptoms for avian influenza include:
- Lack of appetite
- Breathing problems
- Swelling of the head
- Discharge from the eyes
It is important to note that not all birds infected with avian influenza will display symptoms, and that it can die suddenly. In addition, if not treated in time, the fatality rate for bird flu is high.
Avian influenza is spread through direct contact with nasal discharges and feces of an infected bird. Any bird can be infected with this virus, including wild birds, domestic or pet birds, and poultry.