- Most cases of H5N1 (Bird) flu infection in humans have resulted from direct or close contact with infected poultry or surfaces contaminated with secretions and excretions from infected birds.
- The U.S. government carefully controls domestic and imported food products, and in 2004 issued a ban on importation of poultry from countries affected by avian influenza viruses, including the H5N1 (Bird) flu strain. This ban still is in place.
- You cannot get H5N1 (Bird) flu from properly handled and cooked poultry and eggs. Even if poultry and eggs were to be contaminated with the virus, proper cooking would kill it
Follow the same advice you always would for properly cooking eggs and poultry:
- If you plan to visit any of the countries that are confirmed infection with H5N1 (Bird) flu, visit Avian Flu & Travelers from CDC for advice on travel preparation.
- Some of the prescription medicines approved in the United States for human influenza viruses can be effective in treating H5N1 (Bird) flu in humans. H5N1 (Bird) flu is resistant to amantadine and rimantadine, two antiviral medications commonly used for influenza. Two other antiviral medications, Oseltamivir (TAMIFLU®) and Zanamivir (RELENZA®) would likely be effective in treating H5N1 (Bird) flu, but additional studies still need to be completed to demonstrate their effectiveness. It is important to note that H5N1 (Bird) flu infection in humans is very rare.
- The seasonal influenza vaccine does not provide protection against avian influenza.
- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the first vaccine to prevent human infection with one strain of the H5N1 (Bird) flu virus in April of 2007. The H5N1 (Bird) flu virus is not a pandemic virus (because it does not transmit efficiently from person to person). As a result, the H5N1 (Bird) flu vaccine is being held in stockpiles rather than made commercially available to the public. Should circumstances change, it will be distributed if needed.
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