Bird Flu (cont.)

Is there a vaccine to protect people from some strains of the H5N1 virus?

Yes. On April 17, 2007, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced its approval of the first vaccine to prevent human infection with one strain of the avian influenza (bird flu) H5N1 virus. The vaccine, produced by sanofi pasteur, Inc., has been purchased by the federal government for the U.S. Strategic National Stockpile; it will be distributed by public-health officials if needed. This vaccine will not be made commercially available to the general public. Other H5N1 vaccines are being developed by other companies against different H5N1 strains. For more information about the sanofi pasteur, Inc. vaccine, see FDA Approves First U.S. Vaccine for Humans Against the Avian Influenza Virus H5N1. For information about other H5N1 and pandemic flu vaccine research activities visit Vaccine Research.

What is the benefit of the FDA-approved H5N1 vaccine produced by sanofi pasteur Inc?

The H5N1 vaccine approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on April 17, 2007, was developed as a safeguard against the possible emergence of an H5N1 pandemic virus. However, the H5N1 virus is not a pandemic virus because it does not transmit efficiently from person to person, so the H5N1 vaccine is being held in stockpiles rather than being used by the general public. This vaccine aids H5N1 preparedness efforts in case an H5N1 pandemic virus were to emerge.

What does CDC recommend regarding H5N1 virus?

In February 2004, CDC provided U.S. public health departments with recommendations for enhanced surveillance ("detection") of H5N1 influenza in the country. Follow-up messages, distributed via the Health Alert Network, were sent to the health departments on August 12, 2004, February 4, 2005, and June 7, 2006; all three notices reminded public health departments about recommendations for detecting (domestic surveillance), diagnosing, and preventing the spread of H5N1 virus. The notices also recommended measures for laboratory testing for H5N1 virus.

Does CDC recommend travel restrictions to areas with known H5N1 outbreaks?

CDC does not recommend any travel restrictions to affected countries at this time. However, CDC currently advises that travelers to countries with known outbreaks of H5N1 influenza avoid poultry farms, contact with animals in live food markets, and any surfaces that appear to be contaminated with feces from poultry or other animals.

Is there a risk in handling feather products that come from countries experiencing outbreaks of avian influenza A (H5N1)?

The U.S. government has determined that there is a risk to handling feather products from countries experiencing outbreaks of H5N1 influenza.

There is currently a ban on the importation of birds and bird products from H5N1-affected countries in Africa, East Asia and the Pacific, Europe and Eurasia, Near East, andSouth Asia. The regulation states that no person may import or attempt to import any birds (Class Aves), whether dead or alive, or any products derived from birds (including hatching eggs), from specified countries. For more information see USDA's Animal and Animal Product Import. This prohibition does not apply to any person who imports or attempts to import products derived from birds if, as determined by federal officials, such products have been properly processed to render them noninfectious so that they pose no risk of transmitting or carrying H5Nl and which comply with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) requirements. Therefore, feathers from these countries are banned unless they have been processed to render them noninfectious. Additional information about the import ban is available on the USDA website for Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

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