Amid the ongoing Covid-19 crises in our country, Bird flu, another problem has already hit several states of India including adjoining states of Punjab. However, there is no report of bird flu in Punjab but our poultry farmers need to be more vigilant. Bird flu is a disease of birds, caused by Avian Influenza Type A virus, which could affect several kinds of birds including wild birds, turkeys, quails, chicken and ducks etc. Virus is shed in the faeces, nasal discharges and saliva of infected birds. Healthy birds become sick when they come in contact with the infected/reservoir birds or their secretions or contaminated feed, water or equipment. Rarely this disease transmits from birds to humans. However, the persons working in close contact of birds must follow proper personnel hygiene and safety measures.
Dr Jasbir Bedi, Director, School of Public Health and Zoonoses, Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University, Ludhiana told that consumers must thoroughly cook poultry and poultry products (including eggs) before consumption. Proper cooking on more than 70° C kills influenza viruses. Farm to farm transmission usually occur through the movement of the live birds, people and contaminated vehicles, equipment etc. Entry of person or vehicles in the poultry farm should be regulated.
“One should inform the local veterinarian, in case he/she come across something aberrant, for example death of wild or migratory birds in the vicinity of the farm” told by Dr Rajnish Sharma, Assistant Professor, School of Public Health and Zoonoses. Don’t handle dead birds with bare hands. Dispose of the dead birds cautiously under the guidance of local veterinarians, either by burning or burying in a pit. While disposing them of, one should wear mask, gloves and safety goggles.
If gloves not available, use an inverted polythene bag and wash your hands after the disposal. Open water troughs or farm tanks should be covered in order to avoid the fecal contamination by wild or migratory birds. Trees in the farm or near its boundary should be pruned. Other measures include maintaining sanitation of poultry farm and avoiding introduction of birds of unknown disease status.