Bird Flu Precautions

One of the most talked about topics in the news today is the concern about the chance of a world wide spread of bird flu. With all the information and miss-information going around, it is vital to get as much correct information as possible Bird flu is an infection caused by avian (bird) influenza (flu) viruses. These flu viruses occur naturally among birds. Wild birds worldwide carry the viruses in their intestines, but usually do not get sick from them. However, bird flu is very contagious among birds and can make some domesticated birds, including chickens, ducks, and turkeys, very sick and kill them One recent case in England comes to mind where a parrot died because it was help in quarantine with contaminated chickens.

Bird Flu Viruses do not usually infect humans, but they can. It must be taken seriously The death rate in humans is 50%. Infected birds shed flu virus in their saliva, nasal secretions, and feces. Susceptible birds become infected when they have contact with contaminated excretions or surfaces that are contaminated with excretions. It is believed that most cases of bird flu infection in humans have resulted from contact with infected poultry or contaminated surfaces. The spread of avian influenza viruses from one ill person to another has been reported very rarely, and transmission has not been observed to continue beyond one person.. However, during an outbreak of bird flu among poultry (domesticated chicken, ducks, turkeys), there is a possible risk to people who have contact with infected birds or surfaces . . In areas free of the disease, poultry and poultry products can be prepared and consumed as usual , with no fear of acquiring infection with the virus. In areas experiencing outbreaks, poultry and poultry products can also be safely consumed provided these items are properly cooked and The virus is sensitive to heat. Normal temperatures used for cooking (70oC in all parts of the food) will kill the virus. Consumers need to be sure that all parts of the poultry are fully cooked (no “pink” parts) and that eggs, too, are properly cooked (no “runny” yolks).Consumers should also be aware of the risk of cross-contamination. Juices from raw poultry and poultry products should never be allowed, during food preparation, to touch or mix with items eaten raw. When handling raw poultry or raw poultry products, persons involved in food preparation should wash their hands thoroughly and clean and disinfect surfaces in contact with the poultry products Soap and hot water are sufficient for this purpose. In areas experiencing outbreaks in poultry, raw eggs should not be used in foods that will not be further heat-treated as, for example by cooking or baking. Avian influenza is not transmitted through cooked food. To date, no evidence indicates that anyone has become infected following the consumption of properly cooked poultry or poultry products, even when these foods were contaminated with the virus. theses precautions should be used at all times, not only when there is fear of the virus. Poultry can contain salmonella virus. It should always be fully cooked and surfaces cleaned immediately after use.

Tips for handling poultry
Never defrost poultry by leaving it on a counter at room temperature. The best way is to leave it in its original wrapper, at least 24 hours for every 5 pounds. Or is time is short, put it under COLD running water. Larger birds such as turkeys may take 24 hours or more. You can also use the microwave, just make sure to follow the manufacturers directions.

Poultry must be throughly cooked to an internal temperature of 175, The thermometer shod be inserted into the deepest part of the thigh. Also check by inserting a sharp knife into the deepest part The juices should run clear IF there is any trace of red it is not done..

If you stuff the bird, make sure you check the temp of the stuffing as well. It should be 170 degrees. Even if the bird is at the right temperature, the stuffing must be checked, The juices form the bird drip into the stuffing and if not cooked through you have the same chance of getting salmonella It is a good idea to think of cooking the stuffing out of the bird, to avoid this problem. Never transfer cooked poultry to a plate or bowl that has held raw poultry unless it has been thoroughly cleaned.

Bird Flu infections( Avian Influenza Viruses) are not going to go away The viruses will continue to spread unless we take actions including following safe handling and more development of vaccines

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