The Bird Flu – Some Facts

As if the Covid-19 pandemic was not enough we are currently faced with a new infection that is traveling around the world – The Avian Flu or the Bird Flu

Origin
The Avian Flu is caused by a type A Influenza Virus and it usually originates from wild birds like ducks and geese. It is thought that the disease is transmitted through droppings, saliva, and nasal secretions to domestic birds. The close proximity of chickens in farms helps to transmit the infection rapidly amongst them in poultry farms.

Though the H5N1 strain is commonly implicated, this current infection is caused by the H5N8. That is good news since the H5N8 is much less dangerous than the H5N1 strain.

HUMAN CASES
The good news for humans is that this disease rarely happens in humans. In the rare instance it happens it is only in those who are closely associated with taking care of birds – as in poultry farms, etc.

It is also known that human to human transmission is very very rare.

SYMPTOMS
The human symptoms of Bird Flu- very rare mind you are similar to those of a simple cold

  • fever
  • cough
  • body ache/ muscle pain
  • sore throat
  • breathing difficulty

IS IT SAFE TO EAT POULTRY AND EGGS?

The good news is that the virus is susceptible to heat and cooking food well will kill it. If the core temperature of the food cooks above 70 degrees it will render the food safe.

Points to note

  1. Eggs can be consumed- they must be well cooked. If boiled hard-boiled eggs are better.
  2. Chicken can be consumed- it must be well cooked at temperatures above 70 degrees for some time.
  3. Buy from safe sources only
  4. Do not eat raw poultry or eggs
  5. Use separate knives for poultry and other items
  6. Thoroughly wash all surfaces where raw poultry has been lying. Wash your hands well too.

Stay safe and healthy and follow these simple precautions.

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