1. What is the Flu?
Information adapted from Epidemiology & Disease Control Program, Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
"flu" is an infection of the nose, throat, and lungs caused by the
influenza virus. It is not the upset stomach popularly called "stomach
flu". The flu is highly contagious and is spread person to person
through the air by coughing or sneezing. It is also spread by direct
contact with infected people. Flu symptoms usually begin 1 to 4 days
after being infected with the flu virus. Persons who have the flu might
have chills, fever, cough, headache, muscle aches, sore throat, runny
nose, and fatigue. Influenza or "flu" can be a very serious illness that
causes pneumonia, bronchitis, and sinus infections. More information
about the flu can be found at:
Flu Fact Sheet
2. What is the difference between the human flu and Avian or bird flu?
Avian flu is a disease caused by viruses that infect birds, and sometimes, pigs. Avian
flu or "bird flu" is not a current threat in the United States but
there have been some cases in humans in other countries during the past
few years.There are many different types of influenza or flu viruses.
When we talk about "bird flu" viruses, we are referring to the type of
influenza or flu virus mainly found in birds. They do not usually infect
humans. Human flu viruses are viruses that occur mostly in humans.
Influenza or flu viruses are constantly changing, and so they might,
over time, change so that they can infect and spread among humans.
Please go to the following site for additional information on the bird flu:http://www.cdc.gov/flu/avian/gen-info/facts.htm