Vienna, 14 October 2005 - Due to the outbreak of the avian influenza virus strain H5N1 in Turkey and its suspected prevalence in Romania, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs has issued the following information and advice to travelers, which can be found on its homepage www.aussenministerium.at under "Travel information".
Avian influenza is an animal epidemic whose transmission to humans has been observed only rarely and in individual cases.
The Ministry for Foreign Affairs advises travelers to affected states (China, Indonesia, Japan, Cambodia, Kazakhstan, Laos, Malaysia, Mongolia, North Korea, Pakistan, Romania, Russian Federation, South Korea, Thailand, Turkey and Vietnam) to take the following precautions in the affected regions:
- Avoid any contact with poultry whether alive or dead (including eggs). Do not visit poultry markets and animal farms in the affected countries.
- The virus occurs particularly in bird droppings; strongly contaminated areas should therefore be avoided.
- Do not eat raw poultry or poultry that has not been cooked sufficiently (over 70° C). Poultry meat and eggs which have been thoroughly cooked and/or fried do not pose a risk, according to what is known so far.
- Poultry and/or poultry products must not be taken from the affected countries to other countries.
- The conventional influenza vaccination is recommended in order to avoid a simultaneous infection with several virus strains.
- If you plan to travel to regions which are already affected by avian influenza, you are advised to consult your family doctor, who may prescribe a neuraminidase inhibitor to take with you (e.g. Tamiflu® for increased protection in the event of an infection).
Most cases that have become known so far have been preceded by direct contact with infected poultry. However, it cannot be ruled out that a virus with the capacity for direct transmission from human to human may emerge through "mixing" of the genetic material of an avian influenza virus with a human virus. The WHO and the health authorities of the countries concerned are already taking measures to bring the disease under control.
In order to ensure the best possible medical protection, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs strongly advises travellers to inform themselves about the current situation in the destination country and to take their own precautionary measures as far as possible. Continuously updated information on avian influenza can be found on the homepage of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, www.aussenministerium.at, under the subsection "Travel information". Your attention is also drawn to the pandemic plan (only german) of the
Federal Ministry for Health and Women’s Affairs:
Contact for further enquiries:
Ministry for Foreign Affairs
Tel.: (++43-5) 01150-3262
Fax: (++43-5) 01159-213