U.S. Department of Labor
www.osha.gov (800) 321-OSHA
For more complete information:
Safety and Health
Avian flu is a viral disease and it can be very contagious and
even deadly in poultry (e.g., chickens). Of great concern are the
highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5N1 viruses which
have killed millions of birds and infected humans in other coun-
tries. If these viruses are found in the U.S. or if you are a U.S.
em-ployee working in a country known to have HPAI H5N1
outbreaks, take appropriate precautions.
Avian Flu Symptoms in Humans
Range from: fever, cough, sore throat and muscle aches; to
diarrhea, eye infections, pneumonia and severe respiratory dis-
eases and; other severe and life-threatening complications.
The symptoms of avian influenza may depend on which virus
caused the infection and may be similar to those of seasonal
Virus Survival and Destruction
• Avian flu virus survives indefinitely while frozen and remains
• The virus is destroyed by adequate heat, i.e., when raw poul-
try products are cooked to 165°F throughout.
• Eating properly handled and cooked poultry and eggs is safe.
• Destroy infected poultry before it enters the food chain.
• Avoid inhaling contaminated particles from poultry.
General Precautions for Food Processors
• Separate raw and cooked foods and use different chopping
boards or utensils for each.
• Wash hands thoroughly (for 15-20 seconds) and frequently,
preferably with soap and water after each handling of raw
poultry products and eggs.
• Avoid touching your mouth, nose or eyes while handling raw
• Cook all poultry products to a minimum temperature of
• After cooking poultry, place it on a clean plate or surface.
• Get the seasonal influenza vaccine. If you develop flu-like
symptoms, stay at home except to get medical attention.