Section 1. Avian Influenza Facts

  1. Source and Transmission
  2. Agent Characteristics
  3. Virus Survival
  4. Clinical Signs in Birds
  5. HPAI H5N1
  6. Human Concerns

Can I Catch Avian Influenza From Sick Birds?

  • AI viruses generally do not cause disease in humans; however, cases of human infection have been reported.2
  • Most human infections resulted from direct contact with feces and fluids of infected poultry to the person's mucus membranes (e.g. eyes, nose, and mouth). For example, not washing your hands properly after handling infected poultry and then rubbing your eyes could potentially result in infection.
  • Transmission of AI virus from person to person is rare.
  • In the U.S., commercial poultry that have tested positive or have been exposed to avian influenza will not go to market. Even if poultry and eggs were contaminated with the virus, proper cooking would kill the virus. Use a food thermometer to make sure you cook poultry to a temperature of at least 165°F. Eggs should be fully cooked without any runny yolks.7
Photo Credit: Jenny Madsen