June 25, 2024

Bird flu symptoms may include fever, cough, sore throat, difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, eye tearing, redness, or irritation, headaches, muscle aches, runny or stuffy nose

Bethesda, MD (June 25, 2024)—The National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID) offers a variety of resources, including spokespersons and graphics, to help increase awareness about bird flu, also known as avian influenza or A(H5N1), a contagious disease caused by highly pathogenic viruses that can infect birds and other animals, including cows. The disease is widespread in wild birds globally and is causing outbreaks in poultry and US dairy cows. While the current risk to the public is low, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is monitoring activity and providing ongoing updates.

In the latest episode of the NFID series Contagious Chronicles, NFID Medical Director Robert H. Hopkins, Jr., MD and NFID spokesperson William Schaffner, MD, discuss the current outbreaks. “First and foremost, stay alert. But don’t panic,” Hopkins said. “Please do stay away from sick or dead birds or animals. If you must be in contact with potentially sick animals or birds, use personal protective equipment including masks and gloves, and wash your hands afterward. If you have symptoms after you have been in contact with these animals, talk to a healthcare professional. While the current threat is low, we need to remain aware.”

Hopkins also moderated a June 18, 2024 NFID webinar, Updates on Avian Influenza A(H5N1), now available on demand, which addressed the epidemiology of avian influenza, current guidelines, and strategies for disease management and prevention.

About the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases

Founded in 1973, the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to educating and engaging the public, communities, and healthcare professionals about infectious diseases across the lifespan. NFID has a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and has earned a Platinum transparency seal from Candid/GuideStar. For more information, visit

Contact: Diana Olson,

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