Avian Flu (H5N1)


Clinical definition of the Avian Flu test
Avian influenza, or “bird flu”, is a contagious disease of animals caused by viruses that normally infects chickens, other poultry and wild birds such as ducks. Avian influenza viruses (H5N1 virus) are highly species-specific and can infect people eating poultry that is not well cooked. People who have direct contact with infected poultry, or surfaces and objects contaminated by their feces can become sick and can even cause death.

Why is the Avian Flu test done?
This test is done for the detection of the influenza virus and its types (Type A & B) or to check for antibodies against the virus.

What are the common signs/symptoms when the Avian Flu test is done?
Symptoms usually include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Muscle aches
  • Conjunctivitis
  • Eye infections

In severe cases, there may be severe breathing problems, pneumonia, severe respiratory diseases (such as acute respiratory distress), and other severe and life-threatening complications that may be fatal. The severity of the infection usually depends on individual immune system. The symptoms of bird flu may depend on which virus caused the infection.

Who should do the Avian Flu test (Target population)?
Persons who show the above signs & symptoms and those at a high risk of contracting the infection due to exposure to the virus due to direct or indirect contact with infected poultry.

What should I do before the Avian Flu test?

Specimen type

Specimen collection procedure

Preparatory instructions before the test *

Nasopharyngeal Swab

A dry swab would be inserted through one nostril straight back (not upwards), along the floor of the nasal passage until it reaches the wall of the nasopharynx. The distance from the nose to the ear would give an estimate of the distance the swab should be inserted.

The swab is gently rotated and left in its place for up to 10 seconds.

The swab is placed immediately into the transport container.

The swab must be collected within 3 days of symptoms.

There may be a feeling of choking or other discomfort.

One must sit with their head against a wall to reduce the tendency of pulling away during the procedure.

*Subjects suffering from any illness or on oral or injectable medications are advised to consult their physician prior to requesting any tests or procedures.

How do I interpret my Avian Flu test results?

Reference Range*



No infection

‘*A Reference range is a set of values which helps the healthcare professional to interpret a medical test. It may vary with age, gender, and other factors. Reference ranges may also vary between labs, in value & units depending on instruments used and method of establishment of reference ranges’

Diseases/conditions related to the Avian Flu test

  • Sinusitis
  • Whooping cough

Other tests related to the Avian Flu test

  • Virus Culture
  • Avian antibody Test

Synonyms : Bird flu