Because the Avian flu has not yet mutated into a strain that might cause the next pandemic (and it may never), the travel world seems to have lost interest in tracking it. Unfortunately, the Avian flu continues to cause serious problems in Egypt, Vietnam, Indonesia and remote parts of China (of this group, China is the only country covered by a travel guide at ThereArePlaces).
A recent article in the New York Times summarizes the current areas of concern, but several other sources believe that the depressed condition of the world’s economy may mean less money and effort is spent tracking and combating potential outbreaks of Avian flu. In its current form, the virus does not infect humans, although the concern is that this is a rapidly mutating virus and if a lethal form does mutate to humans, it may create the conditions for a disasterous pandemic.
If you are planning to travel in any of the countries mentioned and especially if you are planning on touring the countryside or rural, agricultural areas where fowl are raised, be sure to avoid touching poultry or other wild birds. Make sure that any poultry-based dish you consume is thoroughly cooked or, better yet, simply avoid meals with poultry. If you come into contact with people you suspect have touched birds (farmers, etc.) wash your hands thoroughly as soon as possible and use a hand sanitizer when water is not available.
While the presence of Avian flu is not a reason to cancel travel plans (some form of it exists in many of the world’s agricultural areas) it is wise to monitor local health news for information about local conditions, especially if you are going to wander off the “beaten track”.
If you are going to be traveling in developed areas, there appears little reason, at present, to be concerned with Avian flu, but the old saying “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”, certainly applies to travel planning regardless of the destination. We provide a section called Tourism Information for all of the countries that we cover. Any national health threats that we become aware of will be covered there. See this link for an example of our coverage on China.
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