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Five myths about Bird Flu (with video)
Every year, avian influenza bird flu scares human and becomes the cause for the death of millions of poultry. Technically, H5N1 bird flu is a highly pathogenic and deadly HPAI virus. Studies have shown that a patient with bird flu shows symptoms like fever and shortening of breath. Some non respiratory symptoms have also been recorded in human such as diarrhea, abdominal pain and vomiting.
Almost every year, bird flu is detected in the country, and becomes one of the hot topics. Few months back the flu spread in the country again, this time leading to culling of thousands of poultry. Though the flu is common in the country, people are still uneducated about it and blindly believe in related myths .
In conversation with My City’s Aditya Neupane, Chief of Clinical Research Unit at Sukraraj Tropical and Infectious Disease Hospital, Dr Sher Bahadur Pun debunked five myths that are commonly heard in Nepal.
1, Transmitted through consumption
As bird flu is transmitted through virus, heat kills all of them while cooking. So it’s not unsafe to consume proper cooked poultry. Though doctors suggest people to follow extra precautions around the bird flu outbreak areas, specialists claim that if cooked properly, there is a very least chance of transmission.
2, Bird flu is fatal
Most of the people don’t consume chicken or other poultry meat just because they believe that bird flu is fatal. But the actual fact is that birds can be cured if treated on time.
3, Transmitted easily like a normal flu:
There is a huge speculation in the market that bird flu is transmitted easily like a normal flu, and can cause health hazards. However, it’s really rare for a human to be infected by bird flu and even rarer for human-to-human transmission.
4, Specific vaccination is available:
Most of the people wish they could get vaccination to protect themselves from bird flu. Despite several research conducted to discover a vaccination for bird flu protection, scientists are still unable to discover any specific vaccination to prevent bird flu in human.
5, Treatment is not possible:
Due to the unavailability of vaccination, most of the people believe that treatment of bird flu is blot possible. However, if bird flu is detected on time, it can be treated just like other normal flu.
Three tips to prevent bird flu
1, Cook properly:
Bird flu is transmitted through a virus and if meat and eggs are cooked properly then the heat will destroy the virus. So, it’s very crucial to cook meat properly before consumption.
2, Handle dead birds properly:
Bird flu will transmit to human even through dead and infected birds, so it’s very important to inform concerned authorities if any suspicious bird is seen. The body shall not be touched by neither human nor any other animals. Similarly, dead body of poultry farming should be handled properly.
3, Use precaution:
As there is no proper treatment for bird flu, it’s always better to use the precautions. Precaution includes using scientific equipments in poultry farming, maintaining hygiene of farms and care takers, and not consuming meat when birds around are infected.