Avian Flu: 10 Questions, 10 Answers
What You Can Do; What the Government Is Doing
9. Is there more than one type of bird flu?
Yes. The H5N1 bird flu gets a lot of attention because it is so widespread
in Asia, and because many of the people unlucky enough to catch it from poultry
Other bird flu bugs have spread to humans. One is the H7N7 bird flu that in
2003 infected a number of people in the Netherlands. This virus usually caused
pinkeye in infected people. However, one unlucky veterinarian died from the
virus. Fortunately, Dutch authorities stamped out the virus before it learned
to spread widely in humans.
Bird flus have, in the past, infected U.S. poultry. So far, all of these
bugs have been eradicated before spreading among humans.
10. Who is most vulnerable to bird flu?
Flu is usually most dangerous to infants, pregnant women, the elderly, and
people with immune suppression (such as transplant patients or people with
AIDS). It's also dangerous to people who have previously been hospitalized for
flu or pneumonia.
But much depends on whether there's any immunity to the flu in some
populations. For example, the 1918 flu was more deadly to young adults than to
those over 40. It's thought that a similar virus may have circulated more than
40 years before, giving some protection to those who had caught it as