Skip Global Navigation to Main Content
Skip Breadcrumb Navigation

Health Information

This page contains links to information about:

H5N1 “Avian Influenza”

AVIAN INFLUENZA

This webpage provides links to many websites about Avian Flu that are continuously updated.

For information about Avian flu see the official U.S. Government website for information on pandemic flu and avian influenza at http://pandemicflu.gov/.

The Travel & Transportation section of PandemicFlu.gov ( http://pandemicflu.gov/travel/ ) includes very useful information, as well as the following links: 

The U.S. State Department in Washington maintains a website dedicated to information about Avian Flu at http://travel.state.gov/travel/tips/health/health_1181.html This site also includes links to many other websites, including those maintained by the U.S. Centers for Disease (CDC) and the World health Organization (WHO).  In addition, if there is important news about Avian flu that Americans must receive immediately will send a warden message.  To receive these e-mailed notices, you need to register at www.asktheconsul.org.
 
Protective Measures related to Bird droppings, Dead birds, and House cats

Bird Droppings
Birds infected with AI excrete the virus in their droppings, where the virus can survive for long periods, especially when temperatures are near or below freezing.  Although there is minimal risk of humans becoming infected by AI from bird droppings (the majority of human cases have resulted from extensive contact with live poultry), as a precautionary measure, the following guidelines may be followed when removing bird droppings, even in regions where there have been no documented cases of AI.  Bird droppings can contain infectious agents other than AI, and so these guidelines represent good practice in any case.  (Note: these guidelines apply to the removal of thin coatings of droppings.  Thick amounts of droppings – i.e., those that would require removal using a shovel – should be removed only by trained sanitation workers.)

-- wear gloves that are either disposable or easily cleanable (e.g., light-weight vinyl or nitrile gloves, or heavy duty dishwashing rubber gloves;

-- spray the droppings with water or a disinfecting solution made from 3 tablespoons of household bleach per gallon of water.  Allow time for the bird droppings to soften;

-- surgical masks should be worn if removal will aerosolize the droppings; i.e., cause the droppings to turn to airborne dust;

-- remove the droppings with a disposable or cleanable utensil;

-- if dust is observed as the droppings are disturbed, stop and wet the droppings again before continuing the clean up;

-- place the droppings, tainted debris, and tools into a plastic bag and seal the bag;

-- clean re-usable utensils with water and detergent or preferably a disinfectant solution as described above;

-- clean the exterior of footwear with detergent and water or the disinfectant solution;

-- rinse reusable gloves with detergent and water or disinfectant solution prior to removing.  Disposable contaminated gloves should be placed in a sealed bag for appropriate trash disposal;

-- place reusable gloves in a clean plastic bag and wash them in water containing detergent or disinfectant;

-- thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water for 15-20 seconds.


Dead Birds
The AI virus remains in the tissues of infected dead birds for some time.  Therefore, contact with dead birds should be avoided and local veterinary or agricultural authorities should be notified to collect the bird carcass for disposal or testing.  If contact with a bird carcass is unavoidable (for example, a cat brings a dead bird into the house), follow the guidance below:

-- wear gloves and, if possible, remove the carcass with a shovel or other disposable or cleanable utensil.  Under no circumstances should the bird be touched with bare hands.

-- place the carcass in a plastic bag and seal it.  Place this bag in another bag or a cardboard box.

-- if disposing of the carcass in the absence of other instructions, bury it in a location where it is unlikely to be disturbed by other animals.

-- thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water for 15-20 seconds.

House Cats
A few domestic cats, in addition to pigs, tigers, leopards, ferrets, and stone martens (a weasel-like mammal), have been infected with AI.  The cats are believed to have been infected by eating uncooked diseased birds.  Although no human cases of AI have been associated with contact with AI-infected cats, the following measures are recommended if there has been a verified AI infection in birds within the region:
-- keep domestic cats inside the house to avoid exposure to potentially infected birds;

-- avoid all contact with stray cats and keep them outside the house;

-- inform local veterinary authorities if your cat is sick and has possibly been in contact with birds;

-- strictly follow normal cat care hygiene rules.  When cleaning cat litter boxes, wear gloves and thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water immediately afterward. 
 

For American Citizen Services (ACS) inquiries, please e-mail us at :  seoulinfo@state.gov.

Updated December 4, 2009