A Health Alert Network Advisory was issued to inform public health workers and clinicians of the potential for human infection of the highly pathogenic avian influenza HPAI H5 viruses. Dubbed “bird flu,” virus cases have been confirmed in more than 200 birds in the U.S. since December 2014, mainly in poultry. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warns that patients showing symptoms consistent with influenza who had recent exposure to sick or dead poultry are at risk.
Individuals exposed to infected birds, especially poultry workers and responders, should be monitored for 10 days after their last exposure. If a patient is infected, standard contact and airborne precautions should be followed and the Indiana State Department of Health should be notified to investigate the possible infection. The CDC recommends people avoid unprotected exposure to bird feces, sick or dead birds, litter or materials contaminated or potentially contaminated with the HPAI H5 virus and encourages individuals to wear personal protective equipment.
While the risk to the general public of contracting the virus is low, the CDC said risk increases for people with close or prolonged unprotected contact with infected birds.
Find the full CDC report on the HPAI H5 virus on the CDC website.