It's possible for humans to catch avian flu (bird flu) after coming into close contact with live, infected birds.
Close contact includes:
- touching or de-feathering infected birds
- being in contact with the saliva or fluids from infected birds
- being in contact with (or inhaling) dried dust from the droppings of infected birds
- slaughtering, butchering or preparing infected poultry for cooking
Another source of bird flu can be live markets, where birds are sold in crowded and sometimes unsanitary conditions. Avoid visiting these markets if you're travelling in countries that have had an outbreak of bird flu.
Avian flu is not transmitted through cooked food. In areas that have experienced outbreaks of bird flu, poultry and eggs can be safely eaten.
How bird flu is spread
The bird flu virus is present in the droppings of infected birds, which can contaminate dust, soil, water, feed, equipment, vehicles, clothing and shoes. These are all means through which avian flu can be spread. The virus can also be carried on and spread by the feet and bodies of animals.
Read more about preventing bird flu.