New Delhi: Authorities in Kerala’s Alappuzha district has begun operations to cull over 20,000 birds in the Vazhuthanam after avian influenza was confirmed among ducks.
National Institute of High-Security Animal Diseases, Bhopal has confirmed the presence of the virus, after samples were sent there for testing.The district authorities have said all the birds located within a one-km radius of the epicenter of the virus outbreak will be culled. Eight Rapid Response Teams (RRTs), with 10 members each are formed to conduct the culling of 20,471 ducks.
In India, bird flu or avian influenza is spread mainly by migratory birds coming into the country during the winter months between September and March.
Is avian flu dangerous for humans?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, avian or bird flu viruses usually do not infect people, even though there have been extremely rare cases of human infection with these viruses.
In 1997, the first human infections with H5N1 bird flu viruses were identified in Hong Kong.
Experts believe that Asian lineage H7N9 and highly pathogenic avian influenza Asian lineage H5N1 viruses have been responsible for most human illnesses from bird flu viruses worldwide to date, including the most serious illnesses with the highest mortality.
Mayo Clinic says outbreaks of bird flu have occurred in Asia, Africa, North America and parts of Europe. Most people who have developed symptoms of bird flu have had close contact with sick birds.
How does avian flu spread?
The infected birds can shed the virus through saliva, mucous, and feces.
Human infections with bird flu viruses can happen when the virus gets into a person’s eyes, nose or mouth, or is inhaled. This can happen when the virus is in the air and a person breathes it in, or possibly when a person touches something that has a virus on it and then touches their mouth, eyes, or nose.
Human infections with bird flu viruses have occurred most often after unprotected contact with infected birds or surfaces contaminated with bird flu viruses.