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What is the threat to poultry populations from bird flu?

Poultry can get sick when they come into contact with avian flu. Birds spread the disease to each other through saliva, respiratory secretions and droppings. Wild birds tend to have few ill effects; not so with domesticated birds, including poultry.

Avian flu is "low pathogenic" or "high pathogenic." Strains of the former cause mild symptoms, like ruffled feathers and reduced egg production. Strains of the latter, though, can be-and often are-deadly. Surviving birds can continue to shed the virus in their droppings for 10 days after recovering. That helps the virus to spread further.

Many poultry farmers take steps to slow the spread of avian flu by disinfecting their clothing, shoes and farm equipment; by isolating possibly infected birds; and by keeping domestic and wild birds apart.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.