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All you need to know about bird flu

The recent outbreak of bird flu has spread threats to the governments as several of the species have been badly affected and some died. But, what is this bird flu? And what causes it?

According to healthline, although there are several types of bird flu, H5N1 was the first avian influenza virus to infect humans. The first infection occurred in Hong Kong in 1997. The outbreak was linked to handling infected poultry. H5N1 occurs naturally in wild waterfowl, but it can spread easily to domestic poultry. The disease is transmitted to humans through contact with infected bird feces, nasal secretions, or secretions from the mouth or eyes.

Consuming properly cooked poultry or eggs from infected birds doesn’t transmit the bird flu, but eggs should never be served runny. Meat is considered safe if it has been cooked to an internal temperature of 165ºF (73.9ºC).

What are the symptoms of bird flu?

You may have an H5N1 infection if you experience typical flu-like symptoms such as:

  • Cough
  • Diarrhea
  • Respiratory difficulties
  • Fever (over 100.4°F or 38°C)
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches
  • Malaise
  • Runny nose
  • Sore throat

If you’re exposed to bird flu, you should notify staff before you arrive at the doctor’s office or hospital. Alerting them ahead of time will allow them to take precautions to protect staff and other patients before caring for you.

Bird flu in 4 states, Centre takes precautionary measures

In a fresh threat to the health of humans and birds, thousands of birds are reportedly dead and high number of them are sick due to different variants of bird flu in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, and Haryana following which the Centre government issued alert to the states and asked them to  monitor their health in forest areas and near water bodies.

The Union ministry of fisheries, animal husbandry and dairying on Wednesday pointed to migratory birds as a cause for the spread of flu which has triggered an alarm in the north, central and southern India. The ministry in a statement said, in India, the disease spreads mainly by migratory birds coming during winter months i.e. from September-October to February-March. The secondary spread by human handling (through fomites) cannot be ruled out.

Where the Flu has been reported:

1. Rajasthan (crow) – Baran, Kota, Jhalawar
2. Madhya Pradesh (crow) – Mandsaur, Indore, Malwa
3. Himachal Pradesh (migratory birds) – Kangra
4. Kerala (poultry-duck) – Kottayam, Allapuzha (4 epicentres)

Furthermore, the central government has asked states to strengthen the biosecurity of poultry farms, disinfect the affected areas, and properly dispose of dead birds and carcasses. Also, they are asked to collect samples of the birds affected and send the report to the central government.

The most important part among all these is the concern that the transmission from affected birds to poultry and humans, the ministry has asked states to follow the general prevention guidelines.

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