Source: Public Health Agency of Canada
Posted on: 19th March 2010
Travellers are reminded that countries around the world continue to report cases of avian influenza (H5N1), or “bird flu”
While avian influenza (H5N1) commonly causes sickness in birds, it can also infect people. People who contract avian influenza can get very ill, and more than half die from it.
If you are travelling to a region where avian influenza (H5N1) is known to be present, the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) recommends that you:
1. Avoid all high-risk areas such as poultry farms and live animal markets.
2. Avoid eating undercooked eggs or poultry.
3. Wash your hands frequently.
4. See a health care provider if you develop flu-like symptoms while travelling or after you return to Canada
About Avian Influenza (H5N1)
Avian influenza (H5N1), commonly known as “bird flu”, is a viral infection that can spread easily and quickly among birds.
A particularly strong subtype called the Highly Pathogenic (H5N1) has been found in birds in parts of Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Humans have become infected with this virus.
- Can take two to eight days and possibly longer to appear.
- Usually include symptoms similar to human influenza such as fever, cough, aching muscles and sore throat.
- In more severe cases people may develop serious respiratory conditions such as pneumonia which may lead to death. Fatality rates among hospitalized patients with confirmed infection is high (about 60%).
Where is Avian Influenza (H5N1) a Concern?
- Most human cases have been traced to direct contact with live infected birds or their droppings.
- Asia, the Middle East, Europe and Africa have all had outbreaks of avian influenza (H5N1) in poultry since 2003.
- Since 2009, cases of humans having caught H5N1 have been reported from Cambodia, China, Egypt, Indonesia and Vietnam.
- From 2003 to early 2010, there have been nearly 500 confirmed human cases in 15 countries.
- Worldwide, almost 300 people have died from avian influenza (H5N1).
The World Health Organization (WHO) posts information on the total number of human cases of avian influenza and maps of where human cases of avian influenza have occurred.
Recommendations for travellers
1. Avoid getting avian influenza (H5N1)
1. If you are travelling to an area where avian influenza (H5N1) is a concern,
1. Avoid high-risk areas such as poultry farms and live animal markets;
2. Avoid unnecessary contact with birds, including chickens, ducks and wild birds
3. Avoid surfaces that may have bird droppings or secretions on them;
4. Ensure that all poultry dishes are well cooked, including eggs
2. Wash your hands frequently.
1. Wash your hands with soap under warm running water.
2. Alcohol-based hand sanitizer can also be used if soap and water are not readily available. It’s a good idea to keep some with you in your pocket or purse when you travel.
3. Monitor your health:
1. If you develop flu-like symptoms while travelling, or after you return to Canada, you should see a health care provider.
2. Tell your health care provider that you have been travelling or living in an area where avian influenza (H5N1) is a concern.
Don’t Forget …
1. Consult a health care provider or visit a travel health clinic at least six weeks before you travel.
2. What to do if you get sick when you are travelling
3. What to do if you get sick after you return to Canada
4. Know what vaccines you need and when to get themhttp://thegovmonitor.com/health/worl...flu-26407.html