An outbreak of avian influenza has affected several thousand birds across the country. It has been reported from Kerala, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh so far. It was identified in the first week of January with reports of unusual deaths of a large number of birds.
Causes Of Bird Flu
Avian influenza commonly known as bird flu is a highly contagious viral disease affecting a variety of birds. It includes those consumed by humans such as chicken, duck, turkey, quails as well as pet birds and wild birds. Wild birds act as a natural reservoir of Avial influenza viruses. Their migratory movement could bring these pathogens to poultry and other domestic birds through contact. Bird flu can be caused by several virus stains some of that can be transmitted to humans. The 2 virus strain identified in this outbreak is H5N1 and HYN8. These come under the category of highly pathogenic influenza which in most cases leads to diseases and death of people
Concern regarding Bird Flu
World Health Organization (W.H.O) states that humans can be infected with virus subtypes such as H5N1, H7N9, and H9N2. The response to such an outbreak is a containment strategy that is primarily centered on removing the diseased bird through killing. Such mass destruction has a severe impact on farmers.
Kerala has already identified over 69 thousand birds, mostly ducks, to be killed. The spread of the disease among a variety of birds including migrating birds has prompted the center to issue an alert to states. Local authorities have banned the sales and export of poultry in many regions. They are also increasing tests to control the spread of bird flu. It is impossible to eradicate influenza viruses as they persist in a vast reservoir of aquatic birds. Experts say that continuous growth in poultry farming under poor conditions may have sustained the virus.
Symptoms of Influenza in Humans:
Shortness of breath
If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms you must consult a doctor. Before visiting the hospital you must inform the staff so that they can take precautions.
How can Bird Flu be Diagnosed?
CDC(Centre for Disease Control and Prevention) has approved influenza A/H5 test to identify the disease. However, the test is not available at most hospitals and testing centers. This test offers reports in 4 to 5 hours. Doctors also suggest multiple tests as a supplement for this test such as
auscultation (a test that detects abnormal breath sounds)
white blood cell differential
Additional tests are also done to know the functioning kidneys, heart, and liver.
How to prevent Bird Flu?
In the present scenario, the best way to prevent bird flu is by not traveling to the infected state or country as the disease can get out of control and start spreading drastically. There are several other things that need to be done to prevent bird flu such as:
Eat completely cooked eggs and make sure they are not in runny condition.
Keep your non-veg food separately from vegetarian food.
Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and hand sanitizer after touching any poultry product.
Avoid coming in contact with a person or animal suffering from this disease.
Avoid visiting poultry farms or local markets where poultry animals are found in large numbers.
Cook any kind of food properly for a minimum of 30 mins before consuming it.
Who is likely to be infected by this disease ?
Birds and animals suffering from bird flu tend to spread the disease through feces and saliva. The virus can survive in their excreta for almost 10 days. Getting in contact with the contaminated surface can spread the disease. People who are at great risk of this disease include:
Healthcare workers treating patients suffering from Bird flu
Closest family members of the infected person
A person who came in contact with the infected birds and animals.
People visiting an infected state or the country.
A poultry farmer
Non-vegetarians who eat undercooked poultry products.
It is always advised to take precautions when a disease is spreading at a fast speed to avoid getting in contact with it.
Currently, the virus is not known to spread from humans to humans contact. But still, bird flu is believed to become a pandemic threat to humans as it spreading very fast among birds and animals. This can lead to a nasty outbreak of bird flu among humans as well as birds and animals.