Stat News breaks down the conditions that make live poultry marketplaces amenable to bird flu transmission.
Slaughtering and defeathering chickens that are infected with bird flu creates invisible viral clouds that can engulf poultry sellers and buyers, and even passers-by.
Depending on the strain of the virus and the processes used to kill and defeather the poultry, the very air around poultry slaughtering activity can contain both virus-laced droplets of fluids and even viruses that are aerosolized — wafting through the air, waiting to be drawn into nearby lungs.
“It’s very reasonable to say: Hey, in the process of slaughtering infected animals … you do generate large droplets and you generate aerosol particles,” said David Swayne, who led the research. “And they contain the virus in them.”
“So if you are a person in that air space and you breathe that in, you could be exposed and you possibly could be infected.”
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