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  • Writer's pictureShruti GOCHHWAL

Bird Flu In India: Is It Safe To Eat Chicken And Eggs?

Viral infections are rising at an unprecedented rate all over the world. These infections are highly contagious and spread rapidly from person to person. Bird flu is one such highly contagious viral infection that not only affects animals but also humans in equal amounts. In 2006, bird flu in india surfaced as the country recorded its outbreak in the states of Gujarat and Maharashtra. In the succeeding years, between 2008-2014, West Bengal and Kerala also reported its outbreaks. However, in India, there has been no human casualty caused due to bird flu virus. It is good news because between the years 2003 and 2014, 407 human casualties because of this virus all over the world has been recorded by the WHO or the World Health Organization.

Recently, another Bird flu in india 2020 wave has been reported in many states. Apart from taking everyone by surprise, it is also making them raise the question, is the bird flu still around? Being aware of it is the first step in safeguarding your health in the long run. Let us explore more about the Avian influenza outbreak in Indian states in greater detail.

What Is Bird Flu?

bird flu virus india

person holding a chicken, Credit: Canva

Let us understand more about bird flu in india, the way the infection transmits and spreads and how it affects humans. A viral infection, bird flu in india is affecting animals like birds, ducks, and chickens terribly. Most of the virus forms are limited to the birds. Bird flu is also called H5N1. Once birds acquire this infection, they are destined to die. If humans contract it through a carrier, their health also comes under threat. There are no cases of the spread of this virus because of human-to-human contact, unlike the novel coronavirus. However, many experts have pointed out that H5N1 can turn into a pandemic like coronavirus.

Bird flu in India – what are its symptoms?

Bird fly symptoms are many. You can easily know that you have contracted H5N1 infection if you experience the following:

  1. Persistent cough

  2. Frequent bowel movements or diarrhea

  3. Difficulty in breathing

  4. High fever

  5. Muscle pains and aches

  6. A general feeling of malaise

  7. Running nose

  8. Pain in throat

Causes of Bird Flu – How Does Bird Flu Affect Humans?

avian influenza in india

picture of a virus, Credit: Canva

What causes bird flu? The very first outbreak that happened in Hong Kong in the year 1997 was connected to poultry that was infected. The virus is naturally present in water foul, but only of the wild variety. From them, it can transmit to domesticated poultry. When humans come in contact with bird feces that is infected or secretions from mouth, eyes, or nose they easily contract this infection.

Now, as bird flu in india is spreading in more states than ever, there have been concerns if food items like chickens and eggs are safe to be consumed by people. As eggs are acquired from birds, people are becoming skeptical about consuming them in the fears of becoming a prey to the virus. It is important to understand who is at risk of contracting the virus before you become fearful over poultry food items. The following categories of people are highly vulnerable to the infection.

  1. Poultry farmers

  2. People who are exposed to birds that are infected

  3. People who habitually consume poultry products that are not properly cooked

  4. Travellers who enter countries that are affected by the virus

  5. Healthcare providers who remain exposed to infected people

  6. Family members of an infected patient

All these categories of people need to be extremely vigilant these days as bird flu in india cases are on a high.

Is It Safe to Eat Chicken and Eggs?

 bird flu in india 2020

person taking an egg, Credit: Canva

Ever since bird flu in india outbreak has been reported, the poultry prices have been bearing the brunt of people’s fears. The sales have been affected gravely and people everywhere seem to be avoiding these food items. But is it true that you will contract avian influenza if you consume poultry products? Let us find out.

According to the World Health Organization, improperly cooked or undercooked poultry products will make you prone to contracting the virus. If you consume properly cooked items, your risk of getting infected will be eliminated. The virus dies in heat. A temperature of 70 degree celsius is enough to kill it. Hence, ensure that you are cooking your chicken, eggs, and other similar products at this temperature. After cooking, you can eat these items without any fear in your mind.

WHO is trying to spread awareness about proper cooking to help save lives of people. If even a single human being gets infected, then the lives of various others also come under threat. Hence, proper hygiene habits need to be followed after you cook items like meat, chicken, and eggs. WHO has also shown that a number of cases of this virus has emerged not because of eating poultry products, but because of slaughter of dead and sick birds before handing them over to the people.

Precautions to Follow while Consuming Eggs and Chicken

Avian influenza

eggs and flour, Credit: Canva

As bird flu in india scare intensifies, it seems that misinformation appeals to people more than valid facts. Do not be afraid of poultry products. Just follow the precautions mentioned below while consuming them.

  1. Instead of just washing the produce under running tap water, make use of a paper towel to wipe away all the slimy material on top of it.

  2. Properly cook the product under the required temperature so that even if there is a virus inside it, it is effectively killed.

  3. Do not purchase eggs that are stale.

  4. Follow good cooking practices at every stage of the cooking procedure.

  5. If you are visiting a restaurant, inquire about quality checks of your food before you decide to consume it.

  6. Avoid eating food outside, ensure that you rely on home cooked food to the best of your ability.

  7. Wash your hands properly with a good soap for around 30 seconds both before and after you finish cooking the meal.

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