Information Regarding Avian Influenza (H5N1)

Also known as, A(H5N1), HPAI, Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza, or bird flu

Health, Safety, and Risk Management (HSRM) is monitoring the evolving situation of the multistate outbreak of avian influenza in dairy cows and poultry.

CDC recommends protective measures for workers who are exposed to infected or potentially infected animals, animal bodily fluids, waste, bedding or housing areas. Susceptible animals and animal products of concern:

  • Cows (or other ruminants) 
  • Milking cows (or other ruminants) or handling raw milk
  • Poultry or wild birds
  • Barn/feral cats
  • Other susceptible mammals as identified
  • Other animal bodily fluids, waste or bedding from above listed animals


HSRM has contacted leadership in areas where employees may have occupational exposure to animals and animal products listed above.

Employees with potential occupational exposure to dairy cattle, raw milk, and/or birds (wildlife and/or poultry), must enroll into the Respiratory Protection Program. This applies to employees that work directly with dairy cattle or birds per their IACUC protocols, or that enter the animal housing areas to complete maintenance tasks, or that handle raw milk products. 

This is a precautionary measure. Although respiratory protection is not required unless there is a confirmed case of H5N1, completing the requirements will ensure each employee is ready to safely wear a respirator, should the use become mandatory. If mandatory use is put into effect in your area your immediate supervisor will inform you.

Employees may choose to wear a respirator voluntarily at any time prior to completing the Respiratory Protection Program requirements if they wish. Voluntary users must complete Voluntary Use Respiratory Protection Training (UHS516 in Training Hub) and review the information from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) standard 1910.134 App D.  

Updated: 07/01/2024

Employee Respiratory Protection Program Enrollment

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Twin Cities

Email notifications will be sent on July 1st

Check if you are already enrolled in the Respiratory Protection Program by logging into the Occupational Health Portal. If you are enrolled, you will see the three requirements listed below in your portal. Instructions for navigating the portal can be found on the Occupational Health Portal website. 

 

If you do not see the requirements, please complete the following items to initiate enrollment:  

  1. Respiratory Medical Evaluation: Complete the Respirator Evaluation Questionnaire. 

The questionnaire will be reviewed by HealthPartners Occupational and Environmental Medicine (HPOEM). You will receive an email that confirms you have been cleared. 

If you are not cleared, HPOEM will contact you with further instructions. 

 

  1. Respiratory Protection Training: Enroll in Respiratory Protection training module in TrainingHub. If you are having issues with the training, visit the HSRM Training website.

This is an annual requirement and going forward you will receive email reminders to repeat the training.

 

  1. Respirator Fit Test: Click the link to schedule an appointment at one of the onsite clinics during July 17th-19th.

You must be clean-shaven where the respirator seals to your face for your fit testing appointment and when wearing any tight-fitting respirator. If you need a cultural or medical facial hair related accommodation, please complete the first two requirements and then reach out to [email protected] for assistance.

Morris, Crookston, or Duluth

Email notifications were sent on June 20th.

Employees on these campuses that believe they should be enrolled but did not receive an email should reach out to their supervisor. Supervisors can contact [email protected] with questions.

Unpaid Student Respiratory Protection

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Unpaid Student Respiratory Protection

HSRM has developed the following resource to help supervisors provide respiratory protection for unpaid students in affected areas.

Student (Unpaid) Respiratory Protection Acknowledgement and Training Form

Supervisors should contact [email protected] for information on fit testing students.

H5N1 Symptom Self- Monitoring

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H5N1 Symptom Self- Monitoring

This information is for UMN employees and students who come into contact with dairy cattle, raw milk, and/or birds (wildlife and poultry). 

Per the CDC, Self-observation of potential signs of illness are important to monitor even if you are using PPE and following biosafety instructions. This practice will facilitate timely treatment if necessary. 

Symptoms can include*:

  • Fever (Temperature of 100°F [37.8°C] or greater) or feeling feverish/chills
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Difficulty breathing/shortness of breath
  • Eye tearing, redness, or irritation (conjunctivitis)
  • Headaches
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Diarrhea

*Note that these signs and symptoms are non-specific and overlap with those caused by other respiratory viruses, including seasonal influenza A and B viruses. Evaluation of symptoms by a physician will determine if further testing, isolation, and/or treatment is warranted.

Observe your health daily for signs of symptoms listed above and if you start having symptoms, seek care.

Seeking Care for Symptoms

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Seeking Care for Symptoms

IMPORTANT: Inform the clinic that you have flu-like symptoms and have been in contact with animals or animal products that are potentially or known to be infected with H5N1.

Paid Employees and Students:

View the Clinical Services website for further information by location. 

Visit the Occupational Health Injury, Illness, and Exposures website for information about first-aid and reporting requirements.

Students (unpaid):

Contact your personal clinic or Boynton Health.