Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/1/2005
Publication Date: 4/7/2005
Citation: Swayne, D.E. 2005. Occupational and consumer risks from avian influenza viruses [abstract] Proceedings of OIE/FAO International Scientific Conference on Avian Influenza, p.24.
Technical Abstract: Sporadic cases of avian influenza (AI) virus infections have been reported in humans over the last 50 years. Human infections have only been reported with a few select AI virus strains. Studies with animal models suggest the risk of human infection is dependent upon the specific AI virus strain; i.e. not all AI virus strains have the same risk of infecting humans. Most human cases had infections with H7N7 high pathogenicity (HP) AI virus reported in The Netherlands (2003) and H5N1 HPAI viruses reported in several countries in Asia (1997-present). Epidemiological studies have identified direct exposure to infected poultry as the primary risk factor for human infections. In The Netherlands, veterinarians, cullers and poultry framers had an occupational risk for infection. In Asia, most of the clinical infections have involved direct exposure to poultry in the small-holding village sector or live poultry markets, and not commercial poultry. However, in Hong Kong during 1997, H5N1 infections were associated with occupational exposure (poultry farmers) based on serological evidence, but no clinical disease was reported in association with such infections. No cases of human AI infection have been linked to consumption of infected or contaminated poultry products. However, HPAI virus can be present in blood and meat of infected poultry, and therefore could be a potential source of virus for human infections if consumed raw. Cooking and pasteurization are effective methods for killing AI viruses. Proper vaccination of poultry has been shown to prevent HPAI virus from localizing in the meat.