Bird flu, also known as avian influenza, is on rise among the poultry industry in India and it continues to take a major toll on our poultry sector. As of now, this disease has seen to have spread in 11 states in our country.
Bird flu occurs naturally in wild aquatic birds and can spread into domestic poultry, like chickens, crows, pigeons, ducks, etc. It transmits if there is a direct or indirect contact with an infected bird’s feces, or secretions from its mouth, nose, or eyes.
What causes bird flu?
The causal factor of Bird flu is by type A influenza viruses. Till now, two subtypes which are H5N1 and H5N8, have been detected in the present outbreak. However, in this outbreak scientists haven’t recorded any H5N8 infection in humans. But, 862 human cases of H5N1 infections have been reported by officials to WHO, during 2003 to 2020.
Can human beings contract the virus and in-turn infect others?
There are cases where avian influenza viruses have seen to traverse the species barrier and infect humans. However, there is no evidence which was powerful enough to prove the human-to-human transmission of this virus. Moreover, there’s no data to support that humans can contract this virus simply by consuming meat of an infected bird.
Is eating chicken in bird flu safe?
Before consuming, It’s crucial to follow specific safety practices. As the bird flu virus is sensitive to heat, make sure to cook it in not less than 70º C. This will certainly kill the virus. If you do not have a thermometer with you, cook until the meat is no longer pink.
Eggs which are laid by infected birds contain the virus inside and also on the surface of the eggshell. The risk which is associated with the consumption of eggs is naturally alleviated to some extent as the birds infected with highly pathogenic influenza viruses tend to stop laying eggs. Even so, as a precautionary measure, make sure that you don’t consume eggs in a raw form, cook them fully, till the time the egg yolk is no longer looking runny. Doing this, will destroy the virus.
How is been bird flu affecting India?
“So far, deaths of crow, migratory birds and wild birds due to bird flu have been confirmed in 10 states. They are: Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Delhi, Rajasthan and Punjab” (1)
As of Jan 20, a whopping number of 5,912 birds in Rajasthan have been dead from avian influenza virus. Moreover, 17 districts of the state are currently suffering by the infection.
While the virus’s transmission rate between different bird species is in itself alarming, the population is also becoming more and more anxious about its spread to human beings, through poultry, meat and eggs. As a result, this state of apprehension is affecting the meat and poultry industry in a massive way.
Remember, it important to be cautious while cooking poultry, meat or eggs. However, by just being vigilant and making sure to cook them properly will eliminate the risk.