At a time when India is trying to contain COVID-19 pandemic with vaccine inoculation process to start in couple of weeks, another viral disease has led sleepless nights to health officials. Outbreak of Bird Flu has been reported in Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat, and Kerala. The disease has led panic and fear among masses.
Let’s understand the disease in details:
Bird flu, also known as avian influenza, is a viral infection that infects birds, humans and other animals. Most forms of the virus are restricted to birds. H5N1 is the most common form of bird flu.
What causes the disease?
It is caused by influenza virus. It’s deadly to birds and can easily affect humans and other animals that come in contact with sick birds or animals. The disease is transmitted to humans through contact with infected bird feces, nasal secretions, or secretions from the mouth or eyes. When bird flu strikes humans, it can be deadly. As per WHO, H5N1 was first discovered in humans in 1997 and has killed nearly 60 percent of those infected. As per the Mayo Clinic, under cooked poultry meat or eggs from infected birds can transmit flu. Poultry meat is safe to eat if it’s been cooked to an internal temperature of 165 F (74 C). Eggs should be cooked until the yolks and whites are firm.
What are the symptoms?
Generally the symptoms appear after 2-7 days of infection. Symptoms include
• Respiratory difficulties
• Fever (over 100.4°F or 38°C)
• Muscle aches
• Runny nose
• Sore throat
• Mild eye infection
Washing hands is best practices which apply to this disease too alike COVID-19. Wash your hands regularly to avoid infections.
Use sanitizer in frequent manner
Do not consume domesticated birds for the time being
Avoid undercooked poultry or eggs
Antiviral drugs could be used
Who all are prone to the disease?
• Poultry farmer
• Travellers visiting affected areas
• Those who are exposed to infected birds
• Healthcare workers caring for infected patients
• Household member of an infected person