Symptoms of avian influenza (H5N1)

Learn about the symptoms of avian influenza (H5N1), what to look for and what to do if you become ill.

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What are the symptoms of human infection with avian influenza (H5N1)?

People who become infected with avian influenza (H5N1) can become ill quickly. It can take from 2 to 8 days or longer for symptoms to appear.

Symptoms start with a flu-like illness, such as:

  • high fever
  • cough
  • aching muscles
  • sore throat

Other early symptoms may include:

  • stomach pain
  • chest pain
  • diarrhea

The infection may progress quickly to:

  • severe respiratory illness, which can include:
    • difficulty breathing
    • pneumonia
    • Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome
  • neurologic changes (changed mental state or seizures)

People who become infected with avian influenza (H5N1) can become seriously ill quickly.

According to the World Health Organization, the mortality rate for people who become infected is about 60%.

What do you do if you become ill?

See a health care provider immediately if you:

  • have recently travelled to an area affected by the avian influenza (H5N1) virus and
  • are showing some of the above symptoms

Be sure to mention where you have travelled and the symptoms you are having.

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