The strain of bird flu that has infected people in Asia and the Middle East recently is called H5N1. H5N1 is one of the
strains that are dangerous to birds.
The people who became infected with the H5N1 strain of avian flu caught it directly from birds. H5N1 cannot be spread from
person to person. Experts are concerned that the H5N1 strain of bird flu could mutate (change) into a new form that can
spread from person to person. This has happened in past flu outbreaks and has caused what is known as a pandemic. The
symptoms of bird flu in people tend to be similar to the typical flu: fever, cough, sore throat, muscle aches. But this flu
can also lead to eye infections, pneumonia, and severe coughing and breathing problems. Doctors hope that certain antiviral
medications will help keep the flu from spreading if it becomes contagious to humans. These medications can’t cure bird flu,
but they can make the symptoms less severe.