Why are mass deaths being reported among birds?

India Jan 10, 2021

In the past few days, an outbreak of bird flu has been reported in the country. From domestic birds like crows, ducks and chicken to migratory birds like endangered bar-headed goose, black-headed gull, river tern and common teal have been found dead in various states.

What is Bird Flu?

Avian Influenza is a highly contagious viral A Type disease. There are various strains of the virus of which, the ones currently seen in birds are H5N1 and H5N8. Influenza type A virus is common in geese and ducks. Many migratory birds carry this flu without developing a sickness and pass it on to domestic poultry. The series of deaths of birds are confirmed to have been caused due to this virus.

Current deaths in India

Until now, the presence of this flu among birds has been reported by more than 6 states. High alerts to contain this virus have been issued by the states. Around 1,800 migratory birds in In Himachal Pradesh’s Pong Dam Lake have been found dead. The H5N8 variant of the virus has killed nearly 26,000 ducks in Kerala. In Punjab and Haryana more than 150,000 chickens have been found mysteriously dead. Over 600 bird deaths have been reported in more than 15 districts of Rajasthan. To contain the further spread of the virus, state governments have ordered the culling of poultry.

Does this virus affect humans too?

Bird flu outbreaks have been affecting poultry for years. The virus doesn't usually spread to humans. But if it mutates, it can affect humans and animals too. WHO has said that this virus, even does not usually spread from human to human. People coming in close contact with infected poultry can get this disease. It is very important to immediately contain this virus and to keep humans safe. It is a deadly virus and 6 out of 10 people infected die. It was reported by the DNA,”All over the world, 18,64,000 people died of the coronavirus within a year and the corona mortality rate is 3% at this time. While the mortality rate of patients infected with Bird Flu is 60%. The mortality rate of patients with Bird Flu is 20 times higher than that of the corona.” People while eating eggs and other poultry should consume it only after properly cooking it. The virus does not survive in high temperatures, hence eating poultry at a temperature of 60 - 70 degree celsius is completely safe.

Coronavirus which was not even remotely close to the bird flu in terms of mortality rate to the Bird flu brought the world at a standstill. If the virus is not contained, and it mutates and spreads to humans, we might find ourselves into another pandemic whose impact on the world is going to be unimaginable. We can protect ourselves from this virus by covering our mouth and by frequently washing our hands. As of now, we need to protect our poultry and contain this virus.

This article has been written by Manasi Barve for The Paradigm

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