Bird Flu – The Lethal Menace

These days all one seems to hear in India is “Bird Flu”. The disease which has taken a major part of India in its grip, has not only severly affected the poultry industry of the nation but also it has sent panic bells ringing across the states – from Delhi in the North to Tamil Nadu in the South, to West Bengal in the East, the latter being worst affected. Even the World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared the current outbreak of Bird Flu in India as the worst case reported till date.

In the affected areas, chickens are being culled at a rapid pace, but still the disease is spreading its wings from one district to the other, from one state to another. One primary reason for the rapid spread of Bird Flu is the lack of awareness about the virus which causes the disease. Almost everyone knows that the disease is lethal, but not many know what causes it, how it spreads, and how it can be prevented.

A possible pandemic?

Influenza has become a common illness among humans that its occurrence is no longer a threat. However, viruses have the ability to mutate, some becoming more dangerous. Today’s population may not believe it, but looking at history, flu outbreaks have actually taken more lives than you could have imagined. Check this out:

1918 to 1919 Spanish flu pandemic, also remembered as the Black Death or the plague.

Exact numbers for this pandemic are hard to establish, and different sources offer different numbers, but in the same general range. Estimates suggest that between 20% and 50% of the entire world’s population was infected, and as many as 50 million people died.

It was noted that most at risk of the disease were the healthy group aged 15 to 40. Normally, that age group are more resistant to viral infections. Since the virus is air borne, human to human transfer happened fast and easy, that in some areas, people wore masks and even hand shaking was banned.



More precautionary measures

pan5.jpgWash vegetables and fruits thoroughly, as poultry manure is a common fertilizer. Thoroughly cook poultry meat, up to 82 degrees Celcius (180 degree Fahrenheit) for 5 to 10 minutes. Also avoid sharing utensils, or using “underwashed” utensil in public food courts or canteens.

Your area’s water supply might also be infected if a bird dropping contaminates the water reservoir. Consult with the water supply company on their safety and purifying measures to make sure the water is clean enough for human consumption.

Wearing respiratory masks may look too paranoid, but once another “outbreak” is announced, masks will be a great protection.


H5N1 Combined with H1N1 New Pandemic?

h1n1swinefluThe scare brought about by the new and rising threat from the new and improved H1N1 Swine Flu Virus has scientists clamoring for an immediate cure with the H5N1 still fresh on their minds. The H1N1 strain is still part of the flu family but with a very dangerous twist, it is a combination of the H1N1(swine), H5N1(Avian) and the Human Flu virus that like the other strains is transmittable and can be transmitted from species to species. From animal species it jumps easily to humans and that cross-species jumping trait is a very dangerous combination.

In the News: UKs DEFRA Culls 68,000 Birds to Control Bird Flu


Sixty-eight thousand birds were recently culled in a Suffolk farm in England. This is part of the UKs Department of Environment, Food, and Agricultures control measures on the most recent bird flu case in the area.
Among the culled birds were 56,000 ducks, 9,000 turkeys and 3,000 geese.

Earlier, DEFRA has culled 28,600 birds in the same area. But new information about other farms being exposed to the bird flu virus led to the latest culling. DEFRA confirmed that the farm involved is owned by the same company which operates Redgrave Park Farm, where the virus was first detected in early November.

Farmers and poultry keepers are enjoined to be vigilant in observing safety measures, and to immediately report any signs of bird flu.

From BBC News

Image Source

In the News: DEFRA contains avian flu

DEFRA?s first epidemiological report into the recent H5N1 avian flu outbreak in Suffolk indicates the outbreak has been confined to one index case, but fails to “categorically identify the source of the outbreak?.


The report cites ?poor biosecurity? and the location of the free range poultry unit ? just meters away from an ornamental lake which was inhabited by wild birds – as significant findings, and does not rule out wild birds as the source of infection.

Only one of the five dangerous contact (DC) premises, culled by DEFRA as a result of birds being tended by the same stockmen who employed poor biosecurity measures on the first premises, have so far tested positive for the H5N1 virus.

According to the investigation, workers traveled between units without changing overalls, foot wear and, in some cases, without even washing their hands.

Extensive surveillance of both wild and domestic birds in the area continues, however preliminary findings suggest the infection failed to spread beyond the initial infected premises.


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