- Bird flu, or avian influenza, is a viral infection spread from bird to bird. Technically, H5N1 is a highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) virus. It's deadly to most birds. And it's deadly to humans and to other mammals that catch the virus from birds. Since the first human case in 1997, H5N1 has killed nearly 60% of the people who have been infected.
- Bird flu symptoms in people can vary. Symptoms may start out as normal flu-like symptoms. This can worsen to become a severe respiratory disease that can be fatal. In February 2005, researchers in Vietnam reported human cases of bird flu in which the virus infected the brain and digestive tract of two children. Both died. These cases make it clear that bird flu in humans may not always look like typical cases of flu.
- Scientists say avian influenza is not easily transmitted from birds to humans. It is not impossible, but it doesn't happen easily or very often. When people in Asia got "bird flu" from live domestic chickens and other types of poultry, it usually occurred when people slaughtered infected birds and got blood and excrement on their hands. In some Asian countries, it is even a custom for humans to consume raw poultry blood. These are obvious risk factors for the transmission of the virus from live birds to people. Unless human beings are directly exposed to blood or excrement of infected poultry, avian influenza is a disease of birds, not humans.
- Poultry is safe when it is cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. It's best to use a thermometer to make sure this temperature is reached. While poultry is safe at 165 degrees F, it may be necessary to cook it to a higher temperature to reach a satisfactory level of - doneness. The following chart provides the temperature to which your food is not only safe, but is the best quality:
Chicken, Turkey White Meat: 170 degrees F
Chicken, Turkey Dark Meat: 180 degrees F
Ground Chicken, Turkey: 165 degrees F
- Those suffering any of the bird flu symptoms should instantly contact a doctor and inform the Ministry of Health.
- All citizens present in infested regions should abide by the instructions provided by the Ministry of Health and Agriculture, as well as the security forces, for their own safety.