Poultry in Gurugram safe for consumption, say officials after conducting checks


Officials of the animal husbandry department declared poultry in the city safe for consumption after conducting a check at 18 poultry farms in the city, following the death of an 11-year-old Chakkarpur resident earlier this month whose samples tested positive for bird flu (H5N1 virus).

Twenty-eight teams of the health department conducted checks a day after the district health department confirmed the boy’s death, whose sample tested positive for bird flu in tests done by the National Institute of Virology (NIV) in Pune. Officials said that no ill bird was found during their checks and that poultry products were safe to consume, provided they are cooked at 70°C for 30 minutes.

“Health teams on Thursday visited 16 villages in a radius of 10 kilometres, covering a population of 46, 177. There is no suspected case of bird flu found in the area. Animal husbandry department reported no signs and symptoms of any kind of disease or illness in the birds,” stated a letter issued submitted by the district officer, Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP), to the state health department.

A resident of Bihari market in Chakkarpur died due to a respiratory tract infection at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Delhi on July 11. It is likely to be the country’s first death due to bird flu.

“As a precautionary measure, a survey has been conducted in Chakkarpur and the areas around it. The 18 poultry farms in the city that were checked by our teams show no case of infected birds. It is safe to consume properly cooked chicken, eggs and poultry products provided they are cooked at 70°C for 30 minutes,” said Dr Punita Gahlawat, deputy director, animal husbandry department.

According to Gahlawat, even before the suspected bird flu death, random inspection and sampling were being done at poultry farms. Gurugram’s deputy commissioner, Yash Garg, also appealed to citizens to give information on dead birds to the animal husbandry department, according to a statement issued by the district health department.

An advisory was issued to the poultry farm owners, stating that people who handle live poultry should use gloves and mask to avoid direct contact with raw meat. Human infections with avian influenza A viruses occur due to contact with infected poultry, surfaces, faeces or objects contaminated by their droppings.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), symptoms of H5N1 infection includes fever, cough, sore throat, and muscle aches. Other early symptoms may include abdominal pain, chest pain and diarrhoea. The infection can progress quickly to severe respiratory illness like difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, pneumonia, acute respiratory distress syndrome and neurologic changes of altered mental status or seizures.

Across the globe, there have been 862 cases of laboratory-confirmed H5N1 infections, of which 455 succumbed to the infection. According to a May 21 bulletin by the WHO, it accounts for the case fatality ratio (CFR) at nearly 53%.


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