January 15, 2007
The Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently released guidance about the hazards of occupational exposure to avian influenza, with practical recommendations on ways to avoid infection.
The OSHA Guidance Update on Protecting Employees from Avian Flu Viruses is available in English and Spanish on the OSHA Web site at www.osha.gov.
The document updates guidance on avian influenza that OSHA issued in 2004. The update provides separate recommendations for poultry employees and employees who handle other animals, as well as for laboratory employees, health care personnel, food handlers, travelers, and U.S. employees working abroad. The primary focus is on good hygiene, including use of gloves and hand washing, as well as respiratory protection for employees who work with animals or for humans who have contracted an infection.
The document also includes links to helpful Web sites with additional information and a list of technical articles and resources—including a history of influenza pandemics, symptoms and outcomes of various strains of avian influenza, a summary of bird importation regulations, and details on the transmission of the virus.