Bird flu hits poultry farmers in Punjab again; advisory issued

Amid the ongoing Coronavirus crises in India, bird flu, another disease of economic and health importance has hit several states including Punjab in the last few months. Punjab has already culled many birds said to stricken with Bird flu. 

Bird flu is a disease caused by Avian Influenza Type A virus that could affect several kinds of birds like turkeys, quails, chicken, ducks and wild birds etc. This virus shed in the faeces, nasal discharges & saliva of infected birds. Healthy birds become ill when they come in contact with the infected/reservoir birds or their secretions or contaminated feed, water or equipment. 

This disease rarely transmits from birds to humans. But, those working in close contact with the birds must follow proper personnel hygiene along with safety measures.  

Director of the Centre for One Health, Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University, Ludhiana, Dr JasbirBedi briefed the poultry farmers in Punjab. Poultry products including eggs must be cooked properly before consumption. Cooking at or more than 70° C kills influenza viruses. Farm to farm transmission generally occur through the movement of the live birds, people & contaminated vehicles, equipment etc. The entry of vehicles or person in the poultry farm must be regulated.  

The expert said that dead birds must not be handled with bare hands. Dispose of the dead birds carefully under the guidance of local veterinarians, either by burning or burying in a pit. While disposing them of, the person should wear mask, gloves and safety goggles. If gloves are not available then an inverted polythene bag can be used. Washing hands after disposal is a must.

In addition, open water troughs or farm tanks must be covered. Trees in the farm or near its boundary should also be cropped, the advisory said. 

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