Can people get avian influenza?

While rare, human infections with avian influenza viruses have occurred. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers the risk to the general public from HPAI H5 infections in wild birds, backyard flocks, and commercial poultry, to be low.

To date, no humans or other mammals have shown signs of disease from the HPAI viruses found in North America but field personnel handling live or dead wild birds should take appropriate precautions including wearing protective clothing when handling sick wildlife or potentially diseased wildlife or carcasses.

Learn more: USGS Avian Influenza

Related Content

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USGS CoreCast
June 3, 2008

You, Too, Can Track Avian Flu and Other Wildlife Diseases

Want to stay on top of wildlife disease developments throughout the world? USGS scientists Josh Dein and Hon Ip, and USGS web content manager Cris Marsh tell us how with some great Web tracking tools.

Image: USGS Avian Flu Research
February 29, 2008

USGS Avian Flu Research

USGS scientist Dede Goldberg swabs a pintail duck for avian influenza at Monte Vista National Wildlife Refuge in Colorado.

Attribution: Ecosystems
Avian Influenza Sampling

Avian Influenza Sampling

Oral-pharyngeal sample being taken on an American black duck (cloacal samples are also taken from each bird)