What are the risk factors for avian influenza?

Updated: Feb 12, 2020
  • Author: Nicholas John Bennett, MBBCh, PhD, MA(Cantab), FAAP; Chief Editor: Michael Stuart Bronze, MD  more...
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Risk factors or features that should raise the index of suspicion include the following:

  • Travel to (within the last 2 wk) 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 not due to avian influenza. The first case of laboratory-confirmed avian influenza infection was documented during the SARS outbreak and was mistakenly misdiagnosed as SARS.

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