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Microsoft word - uhcavianfact.doc
Is there a bird flu vaccine?
What is avian Influenza or bird flu?
There is currently no vaccine that protects against the
Bird(avian) flu, first identified in Italy about 100 years
bird flu virus. However studies testing one vaccine
ago, is an infection caused by the influenza A virus.
against the dangerous H5N1 influenza A virus strain
These viruses are spread from one area to another by
migratory birds. Some forms of bird flu can make birds
quite sick. They are called the highly "pathogenic" type.
Will the regular human flu vaccine protect against
Of recent concern are the H5 and H7 sub types that can
the bird flu?
cause serious, even deadly infections in birds, chickens,
The human flu vaccine, made of three different types of
flu viruses(A-H3N2 virus, A -H1N1 virus, and one B
Can the bird flu infect humans?
virus), will not prevent infection against the bird flu virus
strains. However experts recommend that poultry
Bird flu viruses do not usually infect humans, but cases
workers working in "avian flu areas" receive the human
have occurred. In Asia during 2003, there were 44
flu vaccine, as a precautionary measure.
confirmed cases of H5N1 bird flu virus infection in
Will eating poultry meat or eggs cause infection in
What is the difference between bird flu and human
The bird flu virus can survive in cold temperatures so
freezing and refrigeration will not kill the virus. However
There are basically two large groups of the influenza
NORMAL cooking temperatures above 70 degrees C will
virus; group A and group B. It is generally the influenza
inactivate the virus. To date there is no evidence that
A group that infects birds. The human influenza viruses
people have been infected by eating well cooked,
are part of the A group viruses as well, but different
yet contaminated poultry meat.
The avian flu virus is also found on egg surfaces and on
How is the bird flu virus spread?
the inside of the eggs as well. However ONLY proper
cooking will inactivate the virus present in side the egg.
A bird can spread the virus to other birds quite easily.
There is no evidence to suggest that people have been
Infected birds shed the virus in their saliva, nasal
infected after eating well cooked contaminated eggs.
secretions and droppings. The virus can be spread
through direct bird to bird contact or indirectly from
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends the
contaminated soil or other surfaces. The bird flu virus
following good hygienic measures to avoid spreading the
can live on soil and other surfaces for many weeks, even
at low temperatures. Humans who have contracted the bird flu have done so by close contact with contaminated birds. For this reason, people working in poultry/bird
• Separate raw meat form cooked or ready to eat foods
farms with suspected bird flu outbreaks, have to take
and do not use the same chopping board or knife
• Do not handle raw and cooked meat without washing
Can the bird flu virus spread from person to
• Do not place cooked meat back on the same plate or
The spread of avian flu virus from one person to another
is very rare. However, the fear is that the bird virus will change or "mutate" to a form that can spread from one
• Do not use raw or soft boiled eggs in food preparation
person to another, resulting in a worldwide, potentially
very dangerous epidemic. What are the symptoms of the bird flu?
• After handling frozen or thawed raw chicken or eggs,
wash you hands thoroughly with soap. Also wash
Humans infected with bird Flu may have:
surfaces and areas that have been in contact with raw meat.
• Cook poultry thoroughly to reach 70 degrees C or that
• Egg yolks should not be runny or liquid
Bird flu virus infections can be potentially life
Written By DR.PAUL Roumeliotis, OCT.24, 2005
threatening to humans.
What is the treatment of bird flu in humans?
International Food Safety Authorities Network
There is really no known proven cure. Research
experiments suggest that some existing antiviral
medications such as oseltamivir may help fight off this infection, although the viruses can become resistant to these antiviral drugs.
2005 Universal Health Education
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