Bird flu: Can you get it from eating chicken?

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Bird flu: Can you get it from eating chicken?

Question

Is it possible to get bird flu from eating chicken?

Robin
Minnesota

Answer

There is no evidence that humans can get bird flu (avian influenza) from eating properly cooked poultry or eggs — even in areas of the world experiencing outbreaks of the disease, according to the World Health Organization.

For humans, the risk of catching bird flu comes from being in close contact with live poultry with the disease, not by eating infected poultry that has been fully cooked. The bird flu virus, including the H5N1 strain, is sensitive to heat, and proper cooking kills the virus.

In 2004, the United States government issued a ban on importation of poultry from countries affected by avian influenza viruses. This ban is still in place. Other countries have similar bans.

Last Updated: 05/09/2006
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