Bird Flu Alarm



Understanding Avian Influenza

Avian Influenza Viruses


Source- Center for Disease Control and Prevention
Influenza viruses that infect birds are called " avian influenza viruses." Only influenza A viruses infect birds. All known subtypes of influenza A virus can infect birds. However, there are substantial genetic differences between the subtypes that typically infect both people and birds. Within subtypes of avian influenza viruses there also are different strains (described in "Strains").

Avian influenza H5 and H7 viruses can be distinguished as "low pathogenic" and "high pathogenic" forms on the basis of genetic features of the virus and the severity of the illness they cause in poultry; influenza H9 virus has been identified only in a "low pathogenicity" form. Each of these three avian influenza viruses (H5, H7, and H9) can theoretically be partnered with any one of nine neuraminidase surface proteins; thus, there are potentially nine different forms of each subtype (e.g., H5N1, H5N2, H5N3, .. H5N9).

Understanding Avian Influenza