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Diseases - Avian Influenza - FAQs

Public Health Questions

1. Can Avian Influenza affect people

Avian influenza rarely causes clinical disease in people. Cases in SE Asia and more recently in Turkey have been among people who have lived in close contact with their poultry or have eaten raw poultry. We should distinguish between cases of avian influenza in birds - which are an animal health matter - and the potential human health implications, which will be dealt with by the medical authorities.

2. Is Poultry safe to eat?

The Food Standards Agency has advised that eating properly cooked poultry products is not considered to be a risk. It also advises that the risk of infection through handling poultry meat is very low. Any risk can be minimised by hygienic handling of raw poultry meat. There are no subsantial reports of people becoming infected through these routes.

3. What should I do if I come into contact with wild birds?

Wild birds and other animals commonly carry diseases, some of which may be harmful to humans. Therefore the usual hygiene precautions should always be taken when visiting the countryside both in Scotland and abroad i.e. hands should be washed before eating or drinking, footwear should be cleaned upon return etc. Taking these precautions will also helo safeguard the health of any pets or livestock you have at home.

4. Where can I find further information on avian influenza and human health?

For information regarding avian influenza and human health go to the human health - Avian and Pandemic Flu pages.