For the past several months, news have been appearing about the spread of highly pathogenic (infectious) H5N1 avian influenza virus in wild or
domestic birds in countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. Recently a similar virus has been suspected in the poultry farms in Northern Pakistan.
Although H5N1 virus is highly infectious among poultry, it is not easily transmissible to humans. Since December 2003, the virus is known to have
infected 173 people, of whom 93 have died. Not one of these cases has been linked to the consumption of properly cooked poultry or poultry products.
The World Health Organization reconfirms that, when poultry products are safely handled and properly cooked, humans are not at risk of acquiring
H5N1 infection through food consumption.
The main health risk currently is to people who are in close contact with infected poultry, such as families with backyard flocks and poultry workers in wet markets or live animal markets.
We are investigating further into the matter but in the meantime following precautions must be taken at all Eni Pakistan locations,
* Eggs should not be consumed raw or partially cooked. Raw eggs should not be used in foods that will not be treated by heat high enough to kill the virus (70 Degrees C)
* No live chickens neither raw poultry should be handled at any Eni Pakistan location. Properly packaged or frozen poultry meat should be delivered at all locations.
* The packaged or frozen poultry meat should also be cooked up to 70 Degrees C. All parts of the poultry should be fully cooked (no "pink" parts and no "runny" yolks)
* Persons involved in food preparation should wash their hands thoroughly and clean and disinfect surfaces in contact with the poultry products.
* Soap and hot water are sufficient for this purpose. Same precaution must be taken while handling poultry stored under refrigeration.