Bird flu scare is spreading in Delhi. But you should not panic. H5N1 influenza virus can infect people. However, no human bird flu case has ever been recorded in India despite several outbreaks among birds.
You can also eat chicken and eggs without getting scared of H5N1 influenza. All you need to do is cook the food properly. There are no instances of the flu spreading through injection of an infected bird.
If the H5N1 strain is in circulation, people may contract bird flu while plucking or culling an infected bird without proper protection, or if they enter a water body which has droppings of the infected birds.
Authorities on Thursday had shut down the famous Hauz Khas Deer Park in the heart of New Delhi after the death of eight birds due to suspected bird flu. Before this, Delhi zoo was closed for visitors after the death of 10 birds.
Till now death toll of birds due to suspected H5N1 avian influenza virus in the national capital has gone up to 18. On Thursday, Delhi development minister Gopal Rai said that eight bird deaths were reported at four places: two at Delhi Zoo, two at Deer Park, one at Tuglkabad area and death of three crows at Sundar Nagar. Of the 10 birds that had died at Delhi Zoo earlier, three were confirmed to carrying H5N1 virus.
On Friday, Rai said he would not yet declare an avian flu outbreak in Delhi. He told ANI that regular monitoring is being done and their team is dedicated to taking samples consistently and sending it to be tested in Jalandhar.
Avian influenza, also called as avian flu or bird flu, is caused by viruses adapted to birds. The disease can spread from birds to humans. The bird flu virus is H5N1 and it is fatal. However, Rai said that there is nothing to be panicked about.
Not only in Delhi, eight birds have died in Gwalior zoo due to suspected bird flu in the last 48 hours. Last month, India had declared itself free of the Avian Influenza.
(With agency inputs)