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Can You Catch the Bird Flu by eating Chickens Turkeys or other Birds

January 8th 2006

Can You Catch the Bird Flu by eating Chickens Turkeys or other Birds


With the recent bird flu outbreak in Turkey involving the deaths of three children, many people are looking for ways to protect themselves and their family.  Reports from Turkey tests speculate that 14-year-old Mehmet Ali Kocyigit and his sisters Fatma, 15, and Hulya, 11, all died of the H5N1 bird flu.  This is according to a story from the Guardian website.

The World Health Organization (WHO) says there are a total of four cases confirmed by laboratory tests.  Two of the cases were fatal, according to a press release issued on January 7th.   The WHO says one of the sibling’s cause of death has not been confirmed yet, but some experts suspect it is likely the H5N1 virus.


The WHO states that there are some 30 patients being treated and evaluated for possible H5N1 infections at a hospital in the Van Province.  The spread of this disease in Turkey is being characterized as an “outbreak” by the WHO.  But since the temperatures have dropped, many rural households in Turkey have brought their flocks indoors, thus increasing their risk of contracting the disease.

So can you catch the H5N1 by eating chicken or other birds?  According to WebMD, if you cook the poultry, you can’t.  You must heat ground turkey or chicken to at least 165 degrees.  Cook the white meat to at least 170 degrees and make sure the dark meat is cooked to at least 180 degrees.  Eggs only need to be cooked to 160 degrees to be safe.

The chicken industry is a $50 billon a year business.  Already Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) is preparing television ads to reassure customers that eating chicken is safe.  This is according to a report from CNN.  Poultry demand is already slipping 20 to 40 percent in Europe and Asia due to the H5N1 fears.  Yum Brands (the parent of KFC) is expecting a 10 to 20 percent dip in sales based on their experience in China.


A Department of Agriculture official recently said that it is theoretically possible to catch the bird flu from eating “undercooked” meat from a diseased chicken.   According to a report from the Texas Children’s Hospital people have caught the bird flu from “touching infected poultry and from touching surfaces contaminated with poultry feces”. 

Here are some methods for cooking both chicken and turkey safely.  Make sure you clean your meat preparation surface with hot soapy water after it has been exposed to raw meat.  Never use the same utensils on cooked meat that you used on raw meat without first thoroughly washing them with soap.  Also, make sure the cooked chicken or turkey does not touch the same surfaces touched by the raw meat, without first thoroughly cleaning it. 

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By Dan Wilson
Best Syndication Staff Writer

Diet Books

Keywords and misspellings:  how to prepare checkin turky meet influenza enfluenza bacteria virus live heat hot temperature  temparature temp

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Copyright 2005 Best Syndication                                            Last Updated Saturday, July 10, 2010 09:49 PM