What is Avian Influenza?

Can I get sick from eating chicken?

The simple answer is No. It is worthwhile knowing that there are no known cases anywhere of someone getting bird flu from eating chicken, turkey or eggs. It's important though, as always, to follow safe handling practices and cook poultry meats thoroughly.

Bird flu, the one you hear and read so much about, is one specific and especially virulent strain of Avian Influenza known as H5N1. For this strain to infect a person, he/she would have to be in close contact with a great number of infected birds. In Asia, where humans first contracted this strain of bird flu, it's common for humans to live in the same house with their chickens. It's also part of the culture to purchase chickens at “live markets”. Even under these circumstances, it is extremely rare to contract bird flu.

While the risk of a large-scale disease outbreak is very low, it's important that poultry farmers continue to work with food safety and public health experts to do everything possible to prevent such an occurrence.