Bird Flu Alarm

Understanding Avian Influenza

Rationale for Enhanced Precautions

Rationale for Enhanced Precautions

Human influenza is thought to transmit primarily via large respiratory droplets. Standard Precautions plus Droplet Precautions are recommended for the care of patients infected with human influenza. However, given the uncertainty about the exact modes by which avian influenza may first transmit between humans additional precautions for health-care workers involved in the care of patients with documented or suspected avian influenza may be prudent. The rationale for the use of additional precautions for avian influenza as compared with human influenza include the following:

The risk of serious disease and increased mortality from highly pathogenic avian influenza may be significantly higher than from infection by human influenza viruses.

Each human infection represents an important opportunity for avian influenza to further adapt to humans and gain the ability to transmit more easily among people.

Although rare, human-to-human transmission of avian influenza may be associated with the possible emergence of a pandemic strain.