Bird Flu : What is the Bird Flu virus and should we be worried?

In recent weeks, the news media have been drawing our attention to bird (avian) flu. Experts are concerned about a possible worldwide outbreak, or "pandemic," of this contagious disease.

Should you be worried? The answer is maybe. If the virus manages to mutate in just the right way, we will all need to worry about bird flu. However, this is highly unlikely to be an immediate danger.

What is the bird flu?

Bird flu is a form of influenza virus. It is closely related to the types of influenza that typically infect people during flu season. The virus has affected a very large number of birds in areas of Malaysia, Cambodia, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, China, South Korea, Thailand, Vietnam, and most recently, Turkey. A bird illness in Greece is also suspected to be the same virus, but this has not been confirmed.

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