How is avian influenza (H5N1) transmitted?

Updated: Aug 07, 2020
  • Author: Hien H Nguyen, MD, MS; Chief Editor: Michael Stuart Bronze, MD  more...
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Avian influenza (ie, human infection with avian H5N1 influenza virus) is transmitted primarily through direct contact with diseased or deceased birds infected with the virus. Contact with excrement from infected birds or contaminated surfaces or water are also considered mechanisms of infection. Close and prolonged contact of a caregiver with an infected person is believed to have resulted in at least 1 case. Other specific risk factors are not apparent, given the few cases to date.

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