Avian flu also known as bird flu is a viral infection that can infect not only birds, but also humans and other animals. Bird flu viruses infect other birds, including chickens, other poultry, and wild birds such as ducks. Most forms of viruses are confined to birds. However, it can affect humans and other animals that come in contact. Avian influenza virus is a public health threat that has the potential to cause serious illness and death in humans.
a poultry farmer
a traveler visiting affected areas
exposed to infected birds
someone who eats undercooked poultry or eggs
a healthcare worker caring for infected patients
a household member of an infected person
There is no evidence that the avian influenza viruses can infect humans through properly cooked food. A few influenza human cases have been linked to consumption of dishes made with raw, contaminated poultry blood.
Runny or stuffy nose
Muscle or body ache
Eye redness (or conjunctivitis)
In some cases, bird flu can cause serious complications and even death.
Avoid Sources of Exposure
The best way to prevent infection with avian influenza viruses is to avoid sources of exposure whenever possible. Infected birds shed avian influenza virus in their saliva, mucous and feces. Human infections with bird flu viruses can happen when enough virus gets into a person’s eyes, nose or mouth, or is inhaled. This can happen when virus is in the air (in droplets or possibly dust) and a person breathes it in, or when a person touches something that has virus on it then touches their mouth, eyes or nose.
Wash your hands
This is one of the simplest and best ways to prevent infections of all kinds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer when you travel.
Use hot, soapy water to wash cutting boards, utensils and all surfaces that have come into contact with raw poultry.
Cook chicken until the juices run clear, and it reaches a minimum internal temperature of 165 F (74 C).
Steer clear of raw eggs
Because eggshells are often contaminated with bird droppings, avoid foods containing raw or undercooked eggs.
Bird flu vaccine
The Food and Drug Administration has approved one vaccine to prevent infection with one strain of H5N1 bird flu virus. This vaccine isn't available to the public, but the U.S. government is stockpiling it and will distribute it in the event of an outbreak.