Bird Flu Alert in Bengaluru city news and Avian flu Symptoms

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The city is again clutched in the fear of bird flu after five years. There is an outbreak of bird flu or Avian Influenza in Bangalore. It is reported that so far only one chicken has detected positive sign and that is in Dasarahalli, near Yelahanka.”A chicken was found dead on December 29 at a chicken shop in (suburban) Dasarahalli area.

it was confirmed after lab tests that the bird was infected with the H5N1 avian influenza virus,” Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) Joint Commissioner S Nagaraju told IANS.”On orders from the Animal Husbandry Department, we have culled a total of 900 birds so far within the region where the infected bird was found,” he said.

Steps taken to ensure the safety of public

  1. To ensure the safety and in order to take precautionary measures against the spread of bird flu infection, the Animal Husbandry Department had declared  an area of 1km radius of Bhuvaneshwari Nagar in Dasarahlli – from where the birds were found dead – as the ‘infected zone’ and an area of 10km radius as the ‘surveillance’ zone.  They have also ordered meat shops in the infected region to be shut down-on Tuesday.
  2.  K.R. Market and Shivaji Nagar are the prime wholesale dealers of Chicken in Bangalore. Animal husbandry officials have started evaluating these areas to find out more details about the outbreak and also for examining chicken.
  3. The officials have also collected chicken samples and those were forwarded to “National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases”, Bhopal for further studies. Officials are also trying to cut down on any panic situation that might arise in the city due to an outbreak of bird flu.
  4. The Dasarahalli Chicken stall where the Avian Influenza H5N1 virus was detected had confirmed to buy chicken from Tamil Nadu. Officials are also trying to figure out the exact place from where the chickens were brought from.

What is Bird Flu?

The flu stands for influenza. Bird flu also called as avian influenza, is a viral infection that not only affects birds, but also humans and other animals. Most forms of virus are restricted to birds only. H5N1 is the most common form of bird flu. It’s very dangerous for birds and can easily affect humans and other animals that come in contact with a carrier. According to the World Health Organization, H5N1 was first discovered in humans in 1997 and has killed nearly 60 percent of those infected. Currently, the virus isn’t known to spread from human-to-human contact. Still, some experts believe that it can cause a serious health hazard in future.

What is H5N1?

H5N1 is a subtype of “influenza A” virus which can cause illness in birds and many other species. H5N1 mostly affects poultry birds like chicken, geese, ducks, turkey, etc. The virus spreads easily among birds, through their saliva, nasal secretions, feces, and feed. They can get the virus from tainted surfaces, such as cages and other farming equipment.

Symptoms of bird flu in humans

There are certain signs that prove the presence of bird flu in humans are:

  • Cough
  • Diarrhea
  • Respiratory diseases
  • High fever
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches
  • Uneasiness and malaise
  • Runny nose
  • Sore throat
  • Sleeping difficulties
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fatigue
  • Bleeding from nose
  • Chest pain

Bird flu symptoms in birds

The symptoms of H5N1 in birds are:

  • Mild decrease in egg production.
  • Nasal discharge, coughing and sneezing.
  • Loss of coordination, appetite and energy.
  • Soft-shelled or mishap eggs.
  • Purple discoloration of the wattles, head, eyelids, combs, and hocks
  • Diarrhea
  • Sudden death

Safety measures for bird flu

  1. It is advised to consume properly cooked meat or eggs from infected birds. It doesn’t transmit the bird flu, but eggs should never be served runny. Meat is considered safe if it has been cooked to an internal temperature of 165ºF (73.9ºC).
  2. One should carefully slaughter the birds as the infections spread if the contaminated bird comes in contact.

How to treat bird flu?

Different types of bird flu can cause different symptoms. As a result, treatments may vary. In most cases, treatment with antiviral medication such as oseltamivir (Tamiflu) or zanamivir (Relenza) can help reduce the severity of the viral disease. However, the medication must be taken within 48 hours after symptoms first appear. The virus that causes the human form of the flu can develop resistance to the two most common forms of antiviral medications, amantadine and rimantadine (Flumadine). These medications shouldn’t be used to treat the disease. The dose and length of treatment will depend on how severe the case is. Patients with gastrointestinal problems may not be able to absorb the drug as effectively as others. It is advised that if a person is diagnosed with flu, then they should be kept isolated in the hospital or should always stay in home.

Other remedies for bird flu

Apart from taking Tamiflu, healthcare professionals advise patients to:

  • rest
  • fluid intake must be more
  • receive proper nutrition
  • receive medications for pain and fever, prescribed by a health care professional.
  • Complications, such as bacterial pneumonia, are common in patients with H5N1. These patients will need antibiotics, and some may need extra oxygen.

Bird flu prevention tips

As there is a famous saying “prevention is better than cure”. Adequate steps should be taken in this direction so as to prevent the onset of flu. It is impossible to control the spreading of infection; nevertheless the authorities can help communities prepare for possible preventions by monitoring bird migration patterns. As of now there are no permanent vaccines to prevent H5N1 virus. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), a vaccine for H5N1 exists, but it is not yet ready for widespread use. Still one can take some concrete steps to prevent the outbreak of bird flu. Some of the steps are:

  • Precautions around humans:

  1. Proper hygiene should be maintained. You should wash hands with warm water and soap after using bathroom or if you are cleaning some dirt.
  2. While coughing, be a little more careful and use tissue papers. As the virus is communicable, it can spread.
  3. Avoid going to public places and isolate yourself till you are all disease free.
  4. Stay up-to-date especially with the seasonal flu and pneumococcal vaccines.
  • Precautions around birds:

  1. When preparing foods, do not use the same utensils for raw and cooked meats.
  2. Before and after handling raw poultry, wash your hands with soap and water.
  3. Do not go near a dead or sick bird. Call the relevant local authority to report any sightings of dead animals. Those who work with domestic birds should follow local and national guidelines.
  4. Anyone traveling to an area where avian influenza may be present should avoid live animal markets and poultry farms, and stay away from bird feces.