What is Bird flu?
Bird flu (the official name is Avian influenza) is a contagious disease that, perhaps obviously, originated from birds. The creatures spread the virus amongst themselves via infected saliva, nasal secretions and droppings. In birds, the symptoms can range from mild illness to fatality. The human statistics are worrying, too. Since the first human case was identified in 1997, there have only been 560 incidents worldwide — but more than 300 of them have proved fatal. Most human cases have been confined to Southeast Asia and Africa — but mutations occur in viruses, and so the fear is of a more contagious human virus that results in a global pandemic. Humans can contract Bird flu through contact with sick poultry, touching contaminated surfaces, and breathing in airborne cough and sneezing germs from a sufferer.