Avian Influenza, a/ka/ Bird Flu is spreading quickly in Spokane, infecting more than 70 birds. This is alarming news for poultry farmers, but what about the rest of us? Should we be worried? Here's what you need to know...

Why Is It Called the Bird Flu?

As the name implies, the disease mostly affects birds, starting with waterfowl, but can spread to chickens, turkeys, and other landlocked fowl.

Can I Get the Bird Flu?

Yes, you and I can get the Bird Flu, but it is less common in humans. However, the mortality rate for such an infection is 60%. Pretty deadly.

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash
Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Can Humans Transmit Bird Flu to Each Other?

Such transmission is possible, but is very rare.

How is the Bird Flu Transmitted?

Bird Flu can spread to humans through bodily fluids (feces, or secretions from a bird's eyes, nose and beak). You might encounter such bacteria on outdoor surfaces, such as picnic tables, or even on eggs at a farmers' market. Yet another reason why washing your hands is always a good idea before you eat or touch your face.

What Can I Do to Protect Myself?

Avoid birds.

Avoid surfaces where you see feathers, droppings or even a nest.

Cook your meats thoroughly.

Avoid raw eggs.

And clean your cutting-boards, pots and pans after each use.

Photo by Marek Studzinski on Unsplash
Photo by Marek Studzinski on Unsplash

Is There a Bird Flu Vaccine?

There is no bird flu vaccine currently available to the public, however getting your regular flu shot could be helpful.

Should I See a Doctor?

If you have a persistent fever, coughs or body aches? Yes. Go see your doctor and give them all the information you can; where you've been, what you've done, if you suspect Bird Flu. Headaches and shortness of breath are other symptoms.

Photo by Studio Michael França on Unsplash
Photo by Studio Michael França on Unsplash

What's the Bottom Line?

The bottom line is this is mostly a problem for birds, and farmers, but doing the preventative practices mentioned above is always good common sense. After all, Bird Flu isn't the only way to get sick.

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