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Avian Flu outbreak in Ranchi: Know causes, symptoms and prevention tips of H5N1 flu

The World Health Organization (WHO) has classified avian flu as a potential pandemic threat due to its ability to mutate and potentially spread rapidly among humans. However, ongoing research is crucial in monitoring the virus and developing effective vaccines to prevent future outbreaks.

Written By: Kristina Das @ New Delhi Published on: April 25, 2024 16:10 IST
Avian Flu Outbreak
Image Source : SOCIAL Know the causes, symptoms and treatment of avian flu.

According to an official on Wednesday, the Jharkhand government issued an alert following reports of bird flu cases at a state-run chicken farm in Ranchi. An official informed PTI that up to 2,196 birds, including 1,745 chicks, were killed at the Regional Poultry Farm in Hotwar. Additionally, 1697 eggs were destroyed in total.

According to the official, the existence of the avian influenza strain H5N1, samples sent to the ICAR-National Institute of High-Security Animal Diseases (NIHSAD) in Bhopal tested positive for a virus that infects birds. The state has been requested to take all necessary steps to stop its spread by the Union Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry, and Dairying.

What is avian flu?

Known by most as "bird flu," avian influenza or avian flu is a virus that primarily affects birds but can also occasionally infect people. In humans, influenza A(H5N1) is the most frequent cause. Severe respiratory problems may result from it. The most vulnerable groups are those who work with livestock, poultry, and waterfowl (such as geese and ducks).

Types of bird flu

There are numerous variations of avian flu. H5N1 and H7N9 influenza A subtypes are the most prevalent ones that infect people. The names of these are determined by the kinds of proteins present on the viral surface.

What causes avian flu?

A type of influenza A virus, often H5N1 in humans, causes bird flu. The virus can infect your upper respiratory tract and lungs and even spread to other parts of your body, like your brain.

Symptoms of Avian Flu include:

  • Sepsis
  • Pneumonia
  • Acute respiratory distress
  • Brain swelling
  • Bacterial infections
  • Respiratory failure

How is avian flu diagnosed?

A throat or nose swab can be used by medical professionals to diagnose avian flu. You have to notify them if you have come into touch with birds or other animals that may be affected, as they do not regularly test for avian flu. The sample will need to be sent to a specialised lab for analysis.

How is avian flu treated?

Treatment of avian flu can be done with antiviral medications if identified early. However, consulting with a doctor is necessary if you find any symptoms.

Preventive measures of avian flu include:

  • When working with livestock, birds and animals, wear protective clothing which includes a mask, gloves, etc.
  • After handling birds, animals and livestock, make sure to wash your hands properly. 
  • Stay away from animals who have been exposed to avian influenza. 

Overall, avian flu remains a significant public health concern, and continued efforts are necessary to prevent its spread and protect both animal and human populations.

ALSO READ: Bird flu outbreak in Kerala's Alappuzha: Causes, symptoms and prevention tips of H5N1 flu


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