What is bird flu? Can you get Avian Influenza from eating eggs, chicken?
Four states in India on alert over the spread of Bird FluImage source: Wikimedia Commons

What is bird flu? Can you get Avian Influenza from eating eggs, chicken?

What exactly is the bird flu? How it is spread? Is it safe to eat eggs? We have all answers for you. Check below

Over 25,000 birds have died due to bird flu in states like Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Kerala, even as the central government has declared alert to the states to keep an eye on the health of birds in forest areas.

Even as India is still battling the COVID-19 pandemic, the bird flu virus is spreading its wings. Avian flu has been witnessed from at least six states in the country with a large number of birds such as crows, chickens and migratory birds dying. What exactly is the bird flu? How it is spread? We have all answers for you. Check below:

What is Avian Influenza?

Bird flu also known as Avian Influenza, is a viral infection that can infect not only birds and animals but also humans. Most forms of the infections are limited to birds. Generally, people who come in close proximity to infected birds or animals are vulnerable to the spread of the infection. According to the WHO, bird flu doesn’t spread from person to person.

What are the symptoms?

You may have an H5N1 contagion if you experience typical flu-like symptoms like – fever, runny nose, headache, sore throat, cough, diarrhoea, respiratory difficulties, muscle aches and malaise. The Health Ministry advises people working with poultry to use PPEs and practice hygiene. In 2007, the FDA in the US approved a vaccine for the H5N1.

How it spreads?

Aquatic birds such as geese, ducks carry Influenza A viruses. Many times, birds carry flu without developing illness and shed it in their droppings. The bird excreta are a vital source of the flu and birds poop while flying spread all round the globe.

It also spreads from water birds who migrate and travel long distances, the flu is further spread to poultry and terrestrial birds. The virus even hits over to mammals such as cats, dogs, horses and pigs.

Safe to eat chicken and eggs?

The two biggest questions after reading the news of bird flu spread in your mind will be whether we can eat meat or not? The answer is yes. Eggs can be eaten, however, they should be boiled hard or well-cooked. According to the WHO, heating at a temperature of 60 to 70 degrees Celsius does not cause flu.

Also, those eating chicken should be careful. One must eat only well-cooked chicken as eating it half-cooked may prove dangerous. Also, people who give food to pigeons should be careful. The Avian Influenza can spread during the slaughtering process. Thus, the person involved in the process needs to be extra careful.

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