How to prevent avian influenza?Current vaccines, when administered to high-risk groups, such as poultry cullers, protect against circulating human strains and thus reduce the risk that humans at high risk of exposure to the bird virus might become infected with human and avian viruses at the same time. Such dual infections give the avian and human viruses an opportunity to exchange genes, possibly resulting in a new influenza virus subtype with pandemic potential. Annual vaccines are produced for routine use in
protecting humans during seasonal epidemics of influenza. They offer no protection against infection with the H5N1 avian virus.
Avoid farms and market places where they may come into contact with live domestic birds. Avoid all uncooked chicken meat or eggs, including frozen meat. Particular care needs to be taken with foods that contain eggs that are not cooked such as mayonnaise and mousse. Wash hands and surfaces after contact with raw meat and separate raw meat from other raw foods.
Influenza viruses are very sensitive to most detergents and disinfectants. They are readily inactivated by heating and drying. However, flu viruses are well-protected from inactivation by organic material and infectious virus can be recovered from manure for up to 105 days. Complete removal of all organic material is part of any effective disinfection procedure. All buildings should be cleaned and disinfected after an infected flock is removed. The poultry litter should be composted before being used as manure to cultivated lands.
Contaminated houses are to be heated for several days to inactivate virus. Organic material should be removed followed by complete cleaning and disinfection of all surfaces. Contaminated litter and manure is problematic and should be composted to ensure that it does not spread infectious virus.