Diagnosing bird flu 

To date, there have been no cases of people with bird flu (avian flu) in the UK. However, plans are in place to manage any suspected cases that may arise.

Initial assessment

An initial assessment can be made over the phone, at a GP surgery, at home, or in a side room at a hospital.

Bird flu is diagnosed based on your symptoms and the likelihood that you've been exposed to an infected bird. The doctor will ask you whether you've:

  • recently travelled to an area affected by bird flu and if you've been close (within one metre) to live or dead domestic fowl or wild birds, including those at bird markets
  • had close contact (touching or speaking distance) with anyone who has a severe respiratory illness
  • had contact with anyone who died unexpectedly and who was from an area that had an outbreak


If bird flu is suspected, the following tests will be carried out to establish whether you have the infection:

If the laboratory tests and chest X-ray results are normal, it's unlikely you have bird flu.

Page last reviewed: 28/05/2015

Next review due: 28/05/2017