All you should know about the bird flu that is causing panic in Indore, Rajasthan
New Delhi, Jan 04: Bird flu, or avian influenza, is a viral infection spread from bird to bird.
It is deadly to most birds. And it is deadly to humans and to other mammals that catch the virus from birds. Since the first human case in 1997, H5N1 has killed nearly 60 per cent of the people who have been infected.
Migrating water fowl -- most notably wild ducks -- are the natural carriers of bird flu viruses. It's suspected that infection can spread from wild fowl to domestic poultry.
Bird flu effect on humans and how does it spread
People catch bird flu by close contact with birds or bird droppings.
Some people have caught H5N1 from cleaning or plucking infected birds. In China, there have been reports of infection via inhalation of aerosolized materials in live bird markets. It's also possible that some people were infected after swimming or bathing in water contaminated with the droppings of infected birds.
Notably, people don't catch the virus from eating fully cooked chicken or eggs.
Unlike human flu bugs, H5N1 bird flu does not spread easily from person to person. The very few cases of human-to-human transmission have been among people with exceptionally close contact.
In Indonesia in 2006, bird flu spread to eight members of one family. Seven of them died. It's not clear exactly how this happened. Family members likely had similar contacts with infected birds. They may also have shared genes that made them particularly susceptible to the virus. However, casual contact does not seem to be involved.
Bird flu symptoms in people can vary. Symptoms may start out as normal flu-like symptoms. This can worsen to become a severe respiratory disease that can be fatal.
Bird flu in Indore and Rajasthan
The situation is worsening in Rajasthan after bird flu virus was detected in crows, whose carcasses were found in the city three days ago, civic health officials have said.
The authorities are now on high alert.
Kunji Lal Meena, Rajasthan principal secretary, said on Sunday, "Till now, 47 crows have died in Kota, 100 in Jhalawar and 72 in Baran. No death reported in Bundi. We are taking necessary steps to spread awareness and control the situation."
The bird flu virus also has been detected in around 50 crows whose carcasses were found in Indore, Madhya Pradesh, three days ago, putting the authorities on alert, news agency PTI reported a civic health official as saying on Friday.
"Nearly 50 crows were found dead on the campus of The Daly College in Madhya Pradesh's Indore on Tuesday. Some of the carcasses were sent for tests to Bhopal. They were found to be carrying the H5N8 virus," Indore chief medical and health officer Poornima Gadaria said.
Centre issues alert to states
The central government has also issued an alert to the states, saying that samples need to be collected from areas where bird flu deaths are being reported.
The authorities have also launched a drive to identify those with suspected flu symptoms in the area.