WHO Explores Links Between Avian Flu, Live Bird Markets

GLOBAL - The World Health Organization outlines the evidence linking the risk of influenza virus transmission from animals to live food markets, particularly poultry.
calendar icon 24 February 2014
clock icon 3 minute read

More than half of the world's population lives in urban areas, according to the WHO. Food markets are the main source of affordable food, including fresh produce, for many people and have an important economic and social role.

Avian influenza viruses are not transmissible through well-prepared and well-cooked foods but it can be transmitted from infected animals to humans during handling and slaughtering in wet markets. It is therefore important to limit, as much as possible, close contacts between animals and humans in wet markets.

The recent reports human infections of avian influenza A/H7N9 in Eastern China call for application of good hygienic practices in live food markets, including appropriate maintenance of animal cages and waste management.

WHO has been assisting Member States in identifying high-risk practices in market settings and in developing sustainable interventions adapted to each local situation. Good communication and training are a key to reducing the risk of Influenza transmission in food markets.

Markets are settings with a very low level of resource generation and therefore have little financial resources for maintenance and improvements. It is therefore extremely important to identify issues that pose a real public health risk and which need immediate attention rather than issues that would be nice to address but which do not pose a clear documented public health risk.

Further Reading

You can visit the Avian Flu page by clicking here.

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