Health Advice: Interim guidelines for persons working with poultry and other birds at risk of highly pathogenic avian influenza (CDNA, 2008)

The following guidelines are intended for managers and workers on sites with birds at risk of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI), in Australia.

Page last updated: 31 December 2010

Printable version of Interim Guidelines for persons working with poultry and other birds at risk of highly pathogenic avian influenza (PDF 1142 KB)

The guidelines provide summary information on avian influenza, and specific health and safety advice for personnel involved in the handling, farming or processing of poultry and poultry products, and other workers who may be exposed to birds, or their associated products (secretions, faeces, litter, eggs and meat), potentially contaminated with HPAI.

These guidelines apply to:

  • commercial poultry farm workers and associated cullers, cleaners, composters and veterinarians;
  • non-commercial poultry producers (lifestyle farmers);
  • workers in poultry associated industries (transport, catching, egg packaging, poultry meat processing, pet food manufacturing, offal processing rendering);
  • workers with other caged birds (avaries, zoos etc);
  • workers at risk of contact with infected wild birds (parks and wildlife officers, wildlife reseachers and carers, veterinarians and veterinary personnel); and
  • workers at risk of contact with material from exotic potentially infected birds (Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service officers and workers at airports, seasports, international mail centres and cargo terminals).
It should be noted that even for those workers exposed to birds infected with HPAI, or material from birds contaminated with HPAI, the likelihood of infection is very small. The precautions recommended here will reduce that risk even further.

These guidelines are based on material developed by the World Health Organization, the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Australian Government Departments of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, and Health and Ageing.

Further information is appended at the end of these guidelines. This includes telephone contact numbers and websites for information on animal biosecurity, reporting suspected outbreaks, avian influenza in humans, avian influenza outbreaks throughout the world, the AUSVETPLAN for avian influenza, and public health management of contacts.

It is recommended that as part of preparation for a potential outbreak of HPAI, each workplace should conduct a risk assessment to identify the hazards and implement control measures relevant to their workplace. Both employers and employees have responsibilities for occupational health and safety under relevant government legislation.

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