Bird flu in poultry confirmed in more dists of Maha, MP and Chhattisgarh

Bird flu in poultry confirmed in more dists of Maha, MP and Chhattisgarh

New Delhi: The Centre on Thursday said bird flu cases have been confirmed in poultry birds in a few more districts of Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.

So far, avian influenza in poultry has been confirmed in six states –Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Punjab.

In a statement, the Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying said bird flu has been confirmed in poultry samples from Thane (Kalyan), Yavatmal (Dhunki, Pusad), Wardha (Chakni, Hingaghat), Gondia (Nimba, Goregaon), Ahmednagar (BhumirChavan) and Hingoli (Pimpri Khurd) districts of Maharashtra.

The disease has also been confirmed in poultry birds in Raisen (Gairatganj) district of Madhya Pradesh as well as Dantewada district of Chhattisgarh.

However in Uttar Pradesh, the disease has been confirmed in geese in Hadha, Sikanderpur, Karan of Unnao district.

According to the ministry, the control and containment operations are going on in the affected epicentres of Chhattisgarh, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra.

The central team formed for monitoring the situation in the affected areas of the country has visited Parbhani district of Maharashtra to monitor the epicentres of the outbreak and to conduct epidemiological studies.

The viral disease in crow/migratory birds has been confirmed in 10 states so far –Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.

The Central government is taking continuous efforts to generate awareness about the disease through multiple platforms, including social media, it added.

In view of the bird flu scare, regulator FSSAI on Thursday advised consumers not to eat half-boiled eggs and undercooked chicken, and ensure proper cooking of poultry meat as it came out with a detailed set of guidelines.

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has also urged consumers and food businesses "not to panic" and ensure proper handling and cooking of poultry meat and eggs for safe consumption as outlined in the guidance document.

In India, bird flu is spread mainly by migratory birds coming into the country during winter months between September and March.

In a statement, the FSSAI said it has issued the guidance document titled 'Safe handling, processing and consumption of poultry meat and eggs during bird flu outbreak' suggesting precautions to be taken at retail meat shops, and by consumers and those hanlding/ processing poultry meat.

According to the regulator, bird flu is an infection caused by avian influenza viruses. These flu viruses occur naturally among birds. Wild birds worldwide carry the viruses in their intestines, but usually do not get sick from them. However, bird flu is very contagious among birds and can make some domesticated birds, including chicken and ducks, very sick and kill them.

Most strains of avian influenza virus are mainly found in the respiratory and gastrointestinal tracts of infected birds, and not in meat. However, highly pathogenic viruses, such as the H5N1 strain, spread to virtually all parts of an infected bird, including meat.

Highly pathogenic avian influenza virus can be found inside and on the surface of eggs laid by infected birds. Although sick birds will normally stop producing eggs, eggs laid in the early phase of the disease could contain viruses in the egg-white and yolk as well as on the surface of the shell.

"Proper cooking inactivates the virus present inside the meat and eggs. Poultry meat and eggs from areas with outbreaks in poultry should not be consumed raw or partially cooked," the FSSAI said.

However, to date, no evidence indicates that anyone has become infected following the consumption of properly cooked poultry or poultry products, even if these foods were contaminated with the avian influenza virus, it noted.

Suggesting major "dos and don'ts", the FSSAI advised consumers not to eat half boiled eggs and undercooked chicken and also not keep raw meat in open as well as not have direct contact with raw meat.

It also said that people should not have direct contact with birds in the infected areas, avoid touching dead birds with bare hands and use mask/ gloves at the time of handling raw chicken.

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