H5N1, commonly referred to as avian influenza, is a subtype of the influenza A virus that can cause illness in humans and animals. Avian influenza is a highly contagious viral disease which occurs primarily in poultry and other birds. Pigs can also be carriers of these viruses as well as of other influenza viruses normally affecting birds and humans and they may act as hosts for influenza viruses to produce new strains.
Avian influenza can be transmitted to humans and other animals through direct contact with infected birds. There is no evidence that avian influenza be transmitted to humans through the consumption of contaminated food, notably poultry products and eggs. Safe handling of raw meat and other raw food ingredients, thorough cooking and good kitchen hygiene can prevent or reduce the risks posed by contaminated food.
- Five keys to safer food – World Health Organisation (WHO)