Volume 7 Issue 100
Published - 14:00 UTC 08:00 EST 10-Apr-2005 
Next Update - 14:00 UTC 08:00 EST 11-Apr-2005

Editor: Susan K. Boyer, RN
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United States recommendations for travellers to regions affected by avian influenza outbreaks 

(10 April 2005: VIDYYA MEDICAL NEWS SERVICE) -- Editorial team (eurosurveillance.weekly@hpa.org.uk), Eurosurveillance editorial office

Five more cases of avian influenza in humans have been reported by the Ministry of Health in Vietnam. All five cases are in a family from the northern port city of Haiphong. This brings the total number of human cases in the recent upsurge (since mid-December 2004) to 33 [1].

Countries that are currently or have recently been affected by avian influenza in bird populations are: Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia and North Korea [2,3].

Specific precautions for travellers and expatriates in countries and areas affected by avian influenza outbreaks have recently been published by the United States Centers for Disease Prevention and Control [4].

The published guidance applies to people visiting or living in countries affected by avian influenza.

  • Travellers should avoid contact with poultry such as chickens, geese, ducks and pigeons, and wild birds. Places such as commercial or backyard poultry farms and markets selling birds should be avoided.

  • Undercooked or raw poultry or foods containing uncooked poultry blood should not be eaten.

  • Cleaning hands frequently using soap and water, or alcohol-based gel is advised as this removes infectious agents from the skin and helps prevent disease transmission.

When preparing food:

  • Separate raw meat from cooked or ready to eat foods. Do not use the same knife, chopping board or cooking utensils to prepare the raw and cooked food.

  • Do not handle raw and cooked foods without washing your hands in between.

  • Do not place cooked meat back on the same plate or surface it was on before it was cooked.

  • All foods from poultry should be cooked thoroughly, including eggs. Egg yolks should not be runny or liquid. Because influenza viruses are destroyed by heat, the cooking temperature for poultry meat should reach 70°C.

  • Wash egg shells in soapy water before handling and cooking, and wash your hands afterwards.

  • Do not use raw or soft-boiled eggs in foods that will not be cooked.
  • After handling raw poultry or eggs, wash your hands and all surfaces and utensils thoroughly with soap and water.

If a traveller/expatriate thinks that they might have been exposed to avian influenza:

  • They should monitor their health for 10 days.

  • If they become ill, they should seek medical attention, telling the physician that they might have been exposed to avian influenza.

  • They should not travel while ill, and limit contact with others as much as possible to try to avoid transmission.

References:
  1. World Health Organization Communicable Disease Surveillance & Response. Avian influenza – situation in Viet Nam – update 14. Disease outbreak news, 4 April 2005. (http://www.who.int/csr/don/2005_04_04/en/)

  2. OIE. Update on avian influenza in animals in Asia (Type H5). 18 February 2005. (http://www.oie.int/downld/AVIAN%20INFLUENZA/A_AI-Asia.htm)

  3. World Health Organization Communicable Disease Surveillance & ResponseAvian influenza – outbreak in poultry in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea – update 13. Disease outbreak news, 30 March 2005. (http://www.who.int/csr/don/2005_03_30/en/)

  4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Update: Guidelines and Recommendations
    Interim Guidance about Avian Influenza A (H5N1) for U.S. Citizens Living Abroad. 24 March 2005. (http://www.cdc.gov/travel/other/avian_flu_ig_americans_abroad_032405.htm)


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