Related topics: bird flu

Avian flu, distemper may be to blame for rash of seal deaths

Two common diseases, avian flu and distemper, may be to blame for a rash of seal deaths that caused dozens of them to wash ashore in Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts in the biggest die-off of seals since 2011, federal ...

Bird flu found in chicken flock at northwest Georgia farm

About 18,000 chickens were destroyed at a northwest Georgia poultry farm after tests confirmed avian influenza in the flock, the first time the disease has been detected in commercial birds in the state, authorities said ...

Japan culls 280,000 more birds for avian flu

Japan deployed hundreds of soldiers to help cull more than 280,000 chickens on Friday, officials said as they try to contain further outbreaks of a highly contagious strain of avian flu.

Bird flu found at Tyson Foods chicken supplier

Tens of thousands of chickens have been destroyed at a Tennessee chicken farm due to a bird flu outbreak, and 30 other farms within a six-mile radius have been quarantined.

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Avian influenza

Avian influenza, sometimes avian flu, and commonly bird flu, refers to "influenza caused by viruses adapted to birds." Of greatest concern is highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI).

"Bird flu" is a phrase similar to "swine flu," "dog flu," "horse flu," or "human flu" in that it refers to an illness caused by any of many different strains of influenza viruses that have adapted to a specific host. All known viruses that cause influenza in birds belong to the species influenza A virus. All subtypes (but not all strains of all subtypes) of influenza A virus are adapted to birds, which is why for many purposes avian flu virus is the influenza A virus (note that the "A" does not stand for "avian").

Adaptation is non-exclusive. Being adapted towards a particular species does not preclude adaptations, or partial adaptations, towards infecting different species. In this way strains of influenza viruses are adapted to multiple species, though may be preferential towards a particular host. For example, viruses responsible for influenza pandemics are adapted to both humans and birds. Recent influenza research into the genes of the Spanish flu virus shows it to have genes adapted to both birds and humans; with more of its genes from birds than less deadly later pandemic strains.

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