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How dangerous is current bird flu really for humans?


Contagious bird flu: can eggs and poultry be eaten?
A variant of avian flu is currently spreading in Germany. The first protective measures have therefore already been taken in some regions. Many citizens are concerned. But how dangerous is avian influenza? Is it contagious to humans? Can eggs and poultry be eaten?

Extension of the stable requirement
The bird flu pathogen H5N8 is currently rife in Germany. It is highly contagious for poultry. The Friedrich-Loeffler-Institut (FLI) therefore advises “to pay more attention and strongly recommends to check the biosecurity measures in the poultry farms and to optimize them if necessary. In particular, contact between wild birds and farmed poultry should be prevented. ”The President of the FLI may find it wise to expand the compulsory stable. "Ultimately, however, each federal state decides for itself on the risk assessment." But do people also have to fear an infection?

Virus transmission from meat consumption is unlikely
After the spread of bird flu in Germany, fear has spread that it could be dangerous to eat poultry. But experts are now giving the all-clear. According to a message from the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR), virus transmission (H5N8) through the consumption of poultry meat and poultry meat products is “theoretically conceivable but unlikely”.

No human H5N8 infections are known
As the experts write, a virus of the H5N8 subtype was found in the current outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza (avian influenza) in wild poultry. It is now known that this pathogen was also found in factory farming in Schleswig-Holstein, which is why 30,000 chickens are culled in a company there.

Human infections with H5N8 have so far not been reported. However, other viruses, such as H7N9, are demonstrably transferable to humans and can trigger typical bird flu symptoms such as fever, cough and sore throat.

Poultry can be eaten
According to the BfR, transmission of the pathogen (H5N8) via infected food is theoretically conceivable, but unlikely. "In the past, direct contact with infected live poultry was almost exclusively responsible for the transmission of other subtypes (H5N1, H7N9) of avian influenza viruses from birds to humans," the report says.

So far, there is no evidence of the possibility of infection of humans by raw eggs or raw sausage products with poultry meat from infected animals. Nevertheless, care should always be taken to ensure that hygiene rules are observed when handling and preparing raw poultry meat and poultry meat products. Also against the background that poultry meat is often contaminated with germs.

Comply with general hygiene rules
Hygiene is particularly important for some foods. Raw poultry products and other foods should be stored and prepared separately, especially if the latter is not reheated.

Always clean equipment and surfaces that have come into contact with raw poultry products thoroughly with warm water and detergent additive. Packaging materials, thawing water and the like should always be disposed of immediately. Wash hands with warm water and soap.

Always thoroughly cook food with poultry meat, i.e. heat it to a core temperature of 70 degrees for at least two minutes. According to the BfR, eggs should be boiled before consumption until the egg whites and egg yolks are firm, i.e. depending on the size for at least six minutes. (ad)

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