Thursday, November 24, 2005

News - Bird Flu Basics: What it is and how it could explode

On their return last month to the Indian Ocean island of Reunion after a vacation in Thailand, three French citizens began experiencing flulike symptoms.

The initial tests indicated the travelers had contracted "bird flu." Media reports said the tourists had probably been infected with the deadly H5N1 avian influenza strain during a trip to a bird park in Bangkok, Kazinform cites Stefan Lovgren for National Geographic News.

But those fears proved unfounded as further lab results confirmed that the tourists had contracted a normal human flu. The initial results had not distinguished between bird flu and the common flu that widely afflicts humans.

The mix-up underscores public misconceptions surrounding the disease—the distinction between bird flu and the "human flu" is sometimes blurred.


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