“Bird Flu”: What You Need To Know

You do not have to be paranoid about Bird Flu (Avian Influenza) as there are some important facts to know about this disease.

Firstly “Bird flu” is not the same disease as the human flu (Influenza) or Coronavirus. The virus, H5N1 is a very dangerous infectious disease which spread is limited between infected birds and very rarely gotten by humans in close contact with birds. The CDC/WHO has noticed that its spread was limited to the following Asian/African countries – Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Vietnam and Egypt.

Secondly, the purity of the food supply is protected by the authorities operating with strict guidelines to prevent the disease’s spread. The poultry industry and the United States government take Avian influenza very seriously because it can threaten commercial poultry. It is usually spread by migratory birds (such as wild ducks), so the federal government monitors wild birds in areas where there could be contact with Asian birds.

In addition, security on poultry farms in the United States is very tight. Poultry is kept away from wild birds. Strict procedures keeping the virus from infecting commercial poultry are always maintained. Poultry farmers’ number one priority is to protect their livestock.

The industry and state governments sponsor extensive testing programs to watch for any signs of Asian avian influenza. Under the National Chicken Council’s program, which nearly all chicken companies follow, each flock is tested. Any poultry flock found to be infected with Asian avian influenza would be destroyed on the farm and would not enter the food supply.

You can also feel confident about your chicken or turkey dinners. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), you can’t get “bird flu” from properly handled and cooked food. Just be sure to follow the instructions already printed on each package of fresh meat and poultry sold in the United States. The instructions are the same as they have always been-nothing special is required. On the remote chance that an infected bird got into the food supply, it wouldn’t affect consumers. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends cooking poultry to a minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. This is more than enough to destroy any flu viruses that may be present.

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