Bird Flu: A nightmare for non-vegetarians?

January 25, 2021

As the nation fights the battle of coronavirus, another terror has arrived in the country.

Are you among those who are worried about the ban of poultry products due to bird flu? We understand your concern, so here are a few things that you would want to know.

Avian influenza is a disease caused by infection with avian (bird) influenza (flu). They are type A viruses that infect wild aquatic birds and often spread to poultry birds, causing bird flu.

The disease has been confirmed in states like Kerala, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh. Maharashtra is also on high alert. In the most affected states like Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka ducks and chicken were culled to stop the spread of the H5N8 strain of Bird Flu.

Does bird flu affect humans?

Yes, it is possible for humans to get infected by the virus. Avian Influenza virus can spread in humans through the infected birds. However, the majority of human infections are reported only among those who work closely with the poultry industry. Senior citizens, pregnant women and kids below the age of two are most vulnerable to the virus.

Precautions

The only way to prevent this infection is to avoid it. Avoid consuming uncooked or partially cooked eggs and chicken, avoid any contact with infected poultry, avoid touching surfaces contaminated by a bird’s excretion.

To ensure your safety, look for the signs of Bird Flu. The initial symptoms of Bird Flu include; runny nose, sneezing, and sore throat. In the later stages, one may develop symptoms like severe body pain, headache, fatigue and dry cough. Early detection and antiviral medication can reduce the severity of the disease.

Do we need to stop consuming poultry and eggs?

While the poultry industry was highly disrupted with the spread of COVID-19, Bird Flu has become yet another reason that has resulted in huge losses for millions of poultry farmers.

However, there’s no clear evidence that states Bird Flu can be spread through the consumption of poultry products. WHO claims that the virus is sensitive to heat, hence the normal temperature (70°C)used for cooking can kill the virus. So, it’s safe to consume eggs and meat after thoroughly cleaning and cooking them.

Let’s hope for an end to this infectious disease and look forward towards a safer future. With continuous assessment of the situation by WHO we expect to get updates about bird flu and its impact.