Bird Flu Scare Escalates Can Avian Influenza Be Transmitted To Humans

The Avian Bird flue scare has gripped several parts of the country in past few days. The cases of bird flu have been confirmed in at least four Indian states, while panic has gripped eight states due to mass mortality of birds. While Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Kerala have confirmed cases, states like Karnataka, Gujarat, Haryana and Jammu Kashmir, Tamil Nadu have stepped up surveillance. ALSO READ | Kerala On High Alert As Bird Flu Scare Escalates; 40 Thousand Birds To be Culled

With the fast spread of the virus among the the birds, concerns are being raised if the disease can infect the humans. Answering the various concerns in this regard, Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat on Wednesday said that proper care and alert was crucial to prevent bird flu as the diseases can be transmitted to humans from birds.

“Bird flu can be transmitted to humans too, so the need of the hour is to be alert and careful. Prevention is the solution to every problem,” news agency ANI quoted Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat as saying.

Later, the Kerala Animal Husbandry Minister K Raju also made a remark saying the H5N8 virus, which causes bird flu, is not transmitted to humans but genetic mutations can happen.

 How does bird flu spread to humans?

Avian influenza, or “bird flu” or “avian flu” is an infection caused by avian influenza viruses which occur naturally among birds. The disease happens due to H5N1 virus and is caused by a type of influenza virus. HPAI A(H5N1) or Highly Pathogenic Asian Avian Influenza A(H5N1) Virus is considered an avian disease.

The virus is highly contagious among avians and is deadly for poultry birds. There are some evidence of limited human-to-human transmission of the virus.

ALSO READ | Bird Flu In India: Is It Safe To Consume Poultry Products? Know The Causes, Symptoms & Prevention Of Avian Influenza

Humans can contract bird flu when they come in close contact with sick birds, mostly while handling of infected poultry, though, it is not said to be communicable among humans.

The majority of human cases of influenza A (H5N1) virus infection have been associated with direct or indirect contact with infected live or dead poultry. Controlling the disease in the animal source is critical to decrease risk to humans, states WHO.

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