We received your request regarding safe work practices when attending to an emergency on a poultry farm infected with H5N2 Avian Influenza.

In general, avian influenza viruses are spread to people through direct contact with infected birds or their environments, including contaminated bedding, feed or water.

Responders who enter the property, but do not enter the poultry buildings, do not need to take any special precautions or use any personal protective equipment. Thus, bringing water to a farm, without personnel entering the barn, would  not require any special safety precautions.

First responders who need to enter a barn with sick or dead poultry should use personal protection equipment.  Full HAZMAT gear is not necessary.

Responders should use the following PPE:

  • Tyvek suit
  • Rubber boots that can be disinfected or disposable plastic boots (if available)
  • Latex or nitrile gloves
  • Goggles or safety glasses
  •  An N95 respirator for responders who have been fit-tested and medically cleared, or a face mask

These responders should avoid touching their eyes, nose or mouth while working.

When their work is complete, they should remove their PPE and wash hands with soap and water, or use alcohol-based hand gel until hands can be washed.

Please let us know if we can be of further assistance.

Jayne Griffith, MA, MPH
Senior Epidemiologist
Minnesota Department of Health
625 Robert St. N, PO Box 64975
St. Paul, MN 55164
651.201.5085 (p)
651.201.4820 (f)
Jayne.Griffith@state.mn.us