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Pandemic and Avian Flu Information

Information About Pandemic and Avian Influenza for U.S. Citizens in Hungary

Last Updated on 10/17/2011

A number of countries are reporting cases of avian influenza, commonly referred to as "bird flu." The vast majority of the known human cases have resulted from direct contact with infected poultry, and there is only limited evidence to suggest possible human-to-human transmission.

At this time, the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization have not issued any travel alerts or advisories for avian flu-infected areas. CDC advises travelers to clean their hands often with soap and water or waterless alcohol-based hand-rubs to help prevent disease transmission. In addition, as a precaution, all foods from poultry, including eggs, should be thoroughly cooked.

A specific vaccine for humans that is effective against avian influenza has not yet been developed. Based upon limited data, the CDC has suggested that the anti-viral medication Oseltamavir (brand name-Tamiflu) may be effective in preventing or treating avian influenza. Tamiflu may not be readily available overseas and the State Department encourages American citizens traveling or living abroad that are interested in obtaining this medication to consult with their physicians.

The U.S. Embassy recommends that all Americans traveling to or living in Hungary consult with their physicians to receive a regular flu vaccine. Although this will not protect against avian flu, it can help to facilitate accurate diagnosis (and therefore appropriate treatment) of those who might become ill with a non-vaccine influenza strain such as avian flu. The U.S. Embassy has made this same recommendation to its own staff members.

For more information, please see the government's Pandemic Flu website, the State Department's Avian Flu Fact Sheet, as well as the CDC's page, and the WHO's page.

Please also read the warden messages and public announcements issued by the Embassy.