Americans fearful of bird flu are peppering health officials with all sorts of questions: Is it safe to have a bird feeder in my yard? If I see a dead bird, should I report it? Is it still OK to have turkey at Thanksgiving?
Here are answers from CDC and global health officials to some of the questions worried Americans have been asking:
Q: Is it safe to keep a bird feeder in the yard?
Q: If I see a dead bird, should I report it?
A: No. While there has been avian flu in the United States, it has not been the H5N1 strain that has spread through poultry farms in southeast Asia and into eastern Europe.
Q: We keep a small flock of chickens. Should we get rid of them?
Q: If I feel fluish, should I ask my doctor to perform a particular test to check for the bird flu virus?
A: You may ask your doctor to conduct either a rapid diagnostic flu test or a lab test for influenza. If you have a recent travel history to an area where bird flu is endemic, inform your physician.
Q: Should I buy Tamiflu for my home?
A: Tamiflu is effective at treating ordinary flu and scientists believe it may help combat human infections caused by the H5N1 virus. However, the effectiveness of any antiviral medicines such as Tamiflu could change depending on how the virus changes.
Q: Is it safe to eat poultry? Does freezing/cooking destroy the bird flu virus? Is it safe to serve turkey for Thanksgiving?
A: Eating properly handled and cooked poultry is safe. The U.S. government has banned imported poultry from countries affected by bird flu, including H5N1. In addition, European health officials say cooking kills the virus and they are assuring Europeans it is safe to eat chicken.