Bird flu scare hits India: Here’s all you need to know about H5N1

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What is bird flu?

Madhya Pradesh has put the administration on high alert after 400 dead birds were found in 10 different districts.

As we enter the New Year, already reeling from the drastic changes caused by the Coronavirus pandemic in 2020, India may need to prepare for another virus attack.

Avian flu, which was first reported in the state of Rajasthan, has now spread to the states of Madhya Pradesh and Kerala with states on high alert. A total of 110 bird deaths were reported in 9 different districts of Rajasthan due to suspected avian influenza, bringing the death toll to more than 500. Large numbers of deaths were observed in crows and other birds such as herons and Peacocks.

Kerala’s Minister of Wildlife and Forest Livestock, K Raju, has also confirmed the presence of avian influenza in the state. About 12,000 duck deaths have been reported in the state. Authorities were ordered to euthanize all birds within a 1 km radius of areas where bird flu was reported. Therefore, around 36,000 birds will now be euthanized as a precautionary measure.

The state of Madhya Pradesh has put the administration on high alert after 400 dead birds were found in 10 different districts of the states. Authorities have also suggested that the disease has spread only among crows and that chickens have not yet been affected by the disease.

Meanwhile, many migratory birds that were found dead in Lake Pong Dam in Himachal Pradesh tested positive for bird flu, raising concerns from authorities regarding preventing the spread of the disease.

What is bird flu?

Avian flu or avian influenza is a contagious viral disease that is transmitted from a bird to other birds and animals. Most forms of the virus are restricted to birds, and H5N1 is the most common form of the virus. But the H5N1 virus does not spread easily from person to person. Migratory aquatic birds are the most common carriers of the infection, which is then transmitted through saliva, nasal secretions, and feces.

How do humans get bird flu?

People can become infected with bird flu when they come in close contact with an infected bird. For example, plucking or cleaning an infected bird, coming into contact with an infected bird or its droppings, inhaling aerosol materials around areas where birds gather, can make one vulnerable. However, people cannot get the virus from eating fully cooked chicken or eggs.

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