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21.03.2006 General News

W.H.O. says cooked poultry products are safe


Accra, March 21, GNA - The World Health Organization (WHO) has reconfirmed the safety of properly cooked and safely handled poultry products from the highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza virus.

A statement issued by Dr Lee Jong-Wook, WHO Director-General and received by GNA in Accra on Tuesday, said the main health risk was for people in close contact with infected poultry such as families with backyard flocks and poultry workers in wet markets or live animal markets. "Heightened surveillance among domestic and wild birds, rapid detection of the virus, and swift implementation of control measures are important in supporting and maintaining consumer confidence in the safety of poultry products."

The statement said the H5N1 virus was not easily transmissible to humans, adding that not one of the 173 reported cases of human infection since December 2003 had been linked to the consumption of properly cooked poultry products. It said globally, the evidence had demonstrated that there was no risk of infection when birds and eggs are well cooked, as this killed the virus. The virus has since February 2003 spread to affect wild or domestic birds in more than 17 new countries in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Middle East.