Bird Flu: Is it safe to consume eggs and chicken amid outbreak?

With a rise in bird flu cases across the country, the central government has issued a warning and has asked states and union territory (UT) governments to take necessary steps to control the outbreak and prepare for “any eventuality”.

To ensure that the infection does not transmit from birds to humans, the central government has also asked the states and UTs to use PPE kits and other accessories required for culling operations.
The Centre has also asked the states and UTs to create awareness among the public that it is safe to consume poultry products after following boiling and cooking procedures.

So as bird flu creates havoc in India, here is all you need to know about the deadly infection that spreads among birds.

What Is Bird Flu?

Bird flu, which is formally known as ‘avian flu’ or ‘avian influenza’, is an infection caused by viruses adapted to birds. Similar to ‘swine flu’ and ‘dog flu’, this disease is extremely deadly and is caused by Influenza Type-A virus.

What are the symptoms of bird flu?

Some of the symptoms of bird flu are low egg production, respiratory difficulties, fever, malaise, diarrhoea and cough.

Can bird flu transmit to humans?

Yes, bird flu can transmit to humans from birds. However, the spread of bird flu from birds and animals is not a common occurrence. The first such case was reported in 1997 in Hong Kong where 18 people were found infected with H5N1 strain which has a high mortality rate. Out of the 18 affected people, six died due to the infection.

Can I eat eggs and chickens amid bird flu?

Yes, you can eat chickens and eggs amid bird flu but make sure that your food is properly cooked. The World Health Organisation (WHO) says that bird flu infection is also sensitive to heat and dies at over 70 degree Celsius.
“A large number of human infections with the H5N1 virus have been linked to the home slaughter and subsequent handling of diseased or dead birds prior to cooking. These practices represent the highest risk of human infection and are the most important to avoid,” the WHO says.

This story originally appeared on Jagran English.

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