New Delhi| Jagran Lifestyle Desk: Amid the coronavirus pandemic, Indian states have been on an alert after reports of another deadly disease in dead migratory birds as they have been tested positive for avian influenza also known as bird flu. The bird flu was first detected in Rajasthan on December 27, as over 100 crows that were found dead in Jhalawar, were diagnosed with the Avian Influenza, also known as H5N8. 

Other than Rajasthan, similar bird deaths have reported in Haryana, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh too. While lakhs of poultry were reported dead from Haryana, migratory birds died in Himachal Pradesh, where around 1775 migratory birds have died at the Pong Dam lake in one week and now officials have confirmed that it was because of the avian influenza. Movement of tourists or locals has also been prohibited within 1 km radius of the Pong Dam lake.

In Madhya Pradesh, where the deaths of crows have been reported in Indore, Mandsaur, Agar Malwa and Khargone, samples have tested positive for the avian influenza. According to ANI, 367 crows have died in the four districts between December 23 and January 3. “Bird Flu has been detected in four samples of dead crows sent to the state lab. Medical team to conduct surveillance within 1-km of the infected area,” MP Animal Husbandry Department said.

Meanwhile, the Kerala government declared the bird flu as state-specific disaster and a high alert has been issued in Kottayam and Alappuzha districts. An outbreak of bird flu has been reported from some parts of Kottayam and Alappuzha districts. Around 1,700 ducks have died in a farm in Neendoor panchayat in Kottayam district. Officials, as quoted by PTI said around 40,000 domestic birds, including 34,000 in Kuttanad region alone, will be culled to check the spread of the H5N8 virus.

So as the authorities are taking precautionary measures to stop the spread of the bird flu, here are the answers to some FAQs related to Avian Influenza:

What is Avian Influenza?

Avian Influenza is a disease that is caused by caused by infection with avian (bird) influenza (flu) Type A viruses. It is reported that these viruses occur naturally among the wild aquatic birds worldwide and can infect domestic poultry and other bird and animal species. This disease is a viral and contagious disease and can spread from one bird to other birds and animals. H5N1 and H7N9 are the most common strains of the virus.

Can bird flu infect humans too?

The MayoClinic website states that only sporadic cases have been reported since 2015. The CDC reported that bird flu does not normally infect human beings, such kind of infection is rare. However, even if a person gets infected, the virus can be deadly.

Can this influenza spread from one person to another?

It can be transmitted from one person to another but this is a rare case, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). It is reported that from 2003 to 2019, the WHO confirmed a total of 861 human cases of H5N1 worldwide, of which 455 deaths were recorded.

Should a person avoid eating eggs, chicken, or duck?

Heat is the source that destroys the avian virus, thus cooked poultry is of no threat. It is to be noted that eggs and chicken should be well cooked. The MayoClinic has also released precautions, which include, a person should use hot, soapy water to wash cutting boards, utensils, and all surfaces that have come into contact with the raw poultry'.

What are the symptoms of Bird Flu?

The symptoms of bird flu are as follows:

Muscle aches
Headache
Shortness of breath
Cough
Fever
Sore throat

Can it infect pets?

According to the CDC, Avian influenza might get transmitted from birds to pets in two main ways:
*Directly from birds or from avian influenza A virus is contaminated from environment to people.
*Through an intermediate host, such as a pig, however, this is a rarity.

What happened in Jhalawar?

On December 27, in Rajasthan's Jhalawar 100 crows were found dead in a local temple situated in the place. After this, the samples of the crows tested positive for avian influenza, reported forest officials. It is also reported that after 100 crows, around 50 birds including peacocks have been found dead in Kalwa village in Nagaur district of Rajasthan.

Which states in India have so far reported the case of bird flu?

Haryana, Rajasthan, Kerala, Himachal Pradesh, and Madhya Pradesh have reported cases of Avian Influenza. States including Punjab and Jharkhand have also sounded high alert.

Posted By: Deeksha Sharma