Bird flu risks include the virus passing from birds to humans (may cause severe illness) and mutation of the virus to an infection that can be passed easily from human to human. Currently, recommendations for bird flu prevention in the United States do not include wearing a bird flu mask in public.
There is no available vaccine to protect humans against the H5N1 virus, commonly known as bird flu. However, vaccine development efforts are under way. Research studies to test a vaccine to protect humans against H5N1 virus began in April 2005. Researchers are also working on a vaccine against
H9N2, another bird flu virus subtype.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), large-scale production of a vaccine must closely match the pandemic virus and will not start until the virus has emerged and a pandemic has been declared.
There is currently no evidence that properly cooked poultry or eggs from infected birds can cause bird flu. The U.S. government has issued a ban on the importation of all birds and bird products from countries affected by avian flu. The CDC does not recommend travel restrictions to affected countries, but travelers to countries with known bird flu outbreaks should avoid poultry farms, avoid contact with animals in live food markets, and avoid any surfaces that appear to be contaminated with the feces of birds and animals.