As if COVID was not enough in 2020 an Avian Flu has taken over India as the country welcomes 2021. Bird deaths have been reported in the states of Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and Kerala. Hence, consumers of chicken, meat, and eggs are once again at their wits’ end with bird flu cases surfacing, while the threat is causing concern to the poultry industry which was in dire straits as chicken sales nosedived when coronavirus broke out last year.
The sudden rise in the deaths of birds in certain states has led to the center issuing a bird flu alert. The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has directed all wildlife departments to take very serious care when it comes to this virus. The Central government has also launched a drive to identify those with suspected flu symptoms in those areas.
Due to Covid-19 impact, the prices of Chicken in Vizag nosedived to Rs. 60 per kg last year and a few even offered it free to drive away apprehensions among the public. But the poultry industry bounced back within a short time with the advice of health experts advising consumers to eat chicken and eggs to boost their immunity to fight COVID-19. But now, once again, the latest news is once again causing concern among consumers.
Speaking to Hello Vizag, D. Ramakrishna, Joint Director of Animal Husbandry said that there is no immediate threat due to the consumption of chicken as the virus has not been reported from anywhere in Andhra Pradesh or Telangana. To arrest the prevalent bird flu, we are conducting surveillance and the poultry farmers have been asked to disinfect the farms to check the possible spread of the virus through wild birds. 43 teams have been formed for surveillance all over the district. As and when the death of a bird is reported, our team members will send it for testing and, if the virus was found, all fowls in the nearby areas will be culled to prevent the spread of the virus,” he says.
According to Medical experts “bird flu symptoms can range from a cough, diarrhea, fever, muscle ache, headache and more. Though bird flu does hot normally infect human beings, but the transmission can happen and if it does, the whole virus can turn deadly for human beings very quickly”. The virus can also be transmitted between humans and WHO confirmed a total of 861 human cases of the bird flu worldwide with 455 deaths recorded.
A myth is that eating poultry or meat or eggs can be dangerous for the human but heat is the biggest enemy of this virus and thus, cooking and eating the meat or the poultry is not an issue. The National executive member of the National Egg Coordination Committee (NECC) Bharanikana Rama Rao said that “Chances of transmission of the bird flu virus to humans through chicken consumption is remote. Indian cooking is normally done at 100 degrees C and the question of survival of the virus can be ruled out.”
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