Transmission of avian influenza viruses from poultry food consumption is unlikely

In the Federal State of Brandenburg, a case of highly pathogenic avian influenza (often referred to as bird flu) was found in a wild goose, caused by a virus of the H5N8 subtype. According to the current state of scientific knowledge, it is unlikely that the pathogen can be transmitted to humans via food.

In the past, direct contact with infected live poultry was almost exclusively responsible for the transmission of other avian influenza viruses from birds to humans. So far, there is no evidence that humans can be infected by the consumption of raw eggs or raw sausages containing poultry meat from infected animals. As a matter of principle, compliance with hygiene rules when handling and preparing raw poultry meat and poultry meat products should be ensured, also with regard to other pathogens that may be present.

The following general hygiene guidelines apply:

  • Store and prepare raw poultry products and other food separately, especially if the latter is not reheated.
  • Thoroughly clean equipment and surfaces that have come into contact with raw poultry products with warm water and detergent.
  • Dispose of packaging materials, thawing water and similar immediately.
  • Wash hands with warm water and soap.
  • Cook poultry meals thoroughly. This means that a core temperature of 70 °C must be reached for at least 2 minutes.
  • Eggs should be cooked before consumption until the egg whites and egg yolks are firm, i.e. for at least 6 minutes depending on size.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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