Discovery Guides Areas


Avian Influenza (Bird Flu)
(Released July 2007)

  by Sujata Suri  


Key Citations





The first and major control measure should be to take precautions so that an AI virus does not cross the "species barrier" and infect humans. People dealing with poultry or poultry products should take the following prevention measures:

  • practice proper sanitation and good hygiene during handling of poultry and poultry products.
  • wear masks, safety glasses and gloves
  • avoid unnecessary contact with live, sick or dead birds
  • clean kitchen utensils & surfaces before and after use
  • cook chicken until boiling temperature or when cooking temperature exceeds 71 degrees C, because H5N1 viruses are killed at this temperature (Bhatia & Narain, 2006)
  • wash eggs thoroughly with soapy water, rinse, and thoroughly cook.
  • store and prepare raw chicken and eggs separately from other food items to avoid cross-contamination
Also there should be routine tests for AI virus in poultry and if any positive case is seen, the entire poultry flock and poultry products should be destroyed and should not be consumed by the public at any cost.

closeup of mask
A nanoshield mask designed to stop the spread of avian influenza
If, unfortunately, AI crosses the "species barrier" and infects people, then the medical personnel, or people close to patients should take following precautions.

  • Stay at least 1-2 meters away from the infected patient, as cough droplets are full of flu viruses (>5micrometer in diameter). Coughing or sneezing is the predominant direct mechanism of transmission (Bridges et al, 2003).
  • Wash hands frequently and avoid touching mouth or eyes. Indirect contact with door knobs, toilet knobs, taps, stair railings, hand shaking etc, is another possible method of transmission (Bean et al., 1982).
  • Wear masks and safety glasses.

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