What are the risk factors for avian influenza (H5N1)?

Updated: Aug 07, 2020
  • Author: Hien H Nguyen, MD, MS; Chief Editor: Michael Stuart Bronze, MD  more...
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Risk factors or features that should raise the index of suspicion of H5N1 avian influenza include the following [33] :

  • Recent (within the preceding 2 weeks) travel to or location in a country with known avian influenza cases in animals or humans

  • Unusual comorbidities such as encephalopathy or diarrhea

  • History of exposure to birds, especially living in close proximity to birds, contact with sick or dying birds, or consumption of incompletely cooked bird meat

  • History of exposure to individuals with known avian influenza, especially family, or to sick people in a country with known human cases of avian influenza

The situation can be complicated during outbreaks of severe respiratory disease other than avian influenza. The first case of laboratory-confirmed avian influenza infection was documented during the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak of 2002-2003 and was mistakenly misdiagnosed as SARS. [34]

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