It's possible for humans to catch bird flu (avian flu) during close contact with infected birds. Generally, prolonged contact is required for the infection to spread.
The bird flu virus is spread through the droppings of infected birds, as well as secretions from the eyes and respiratory tract. Infected droppings or secretions can contaminate dust, soil, water, feed, equipment, vehicles, clothing and shoes. The virus can also be carried on the feet and bodies of animals.
You may become infected by:
- touching infected birds that are dead or alive
- inhaling or being in contact with dried dust from the droppings or bedding of infected birds
- inhaling droplets sneezed by infected birds
- slaughtering, butchering or preparing infected poultry for cooking
Another possible 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.
Bird flu is not transmitted through cooked food. Poultry and eggs can be safely eaten in areas that have experienced outbreaks of bird flu.
Read more about preventing bird flu.