Editorial

Another flu threat

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 1/12/2021 12:06:53 PM IST

 Even as coronavirus continues to pose serious threat on human lives, the outbreak of bird flu (Avian flue) confirmed in nine states- Delhi, Maharashtra, Kerala, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh- so far, has posed another serious challenge. The government of India has sounded an alert nationwide to take proactive precautions against the virus. Avian flu is caused by the highly pathogenic(capable of causing disease) avian influenza virus-H5N1. Though no outbreak has been reported in Nagaland, yet it is important that all poultry products including eggs should be avoided till the outbreak has been contained. It is believed that most cases of avian influenza infection in humans have resulted from contact with infected poultry or contaminated surfaces. Under the crowded conditions of intensive poultry rearing, however, some variants of the H5 and H7 ‘subtypes’, ultimately derived from wild birds, can evolve into “Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza” (HPAI) viruses, which can cause massive mortality in poultry. However, if some are not shaken by the scare, they have to take precautions by cooking all poultry and poultry products (including eggs) thoroughly before eating. Influenza viruses such as H5N2, H7N2, and H5N1 are destroyed by adequate heat, as are other food-borne pathogens. Being voracious consumers of meat product, people must learn to follow proper food preparation and handling practices. (This means that chicken should be cooked until it reaches a temperature of 180 degrees Fahrenheit, throughout each piece of chicken.) Raw poultry always should be handled hygienically because it can be associated with many infections, including salmonella. Therefore, all utensils and surfaces (including hands) that come in contact with raw poultry should be cleaned carefully with water and soap immediately afterwards. Since monitoring in the region has not been up to the standard required, it is advisable to stay off poultry products including other birds till threat is over. Other means of transmission are also possible, such as the virus becoming aerosolized and landing on exposed surfaces of the mouth, nose, or eyes, or being inhaled into the lungs.Since the influenza A viruses have the potential to change and gain the ability to spread easily between people, monitoring for human infection and person-to-person transmission is important. The reported symptoms of avian influenza in humans have ranged from typical influenza-like symptoms (e.g., fever, cough, sore throat, and muscle aches) to eye infections (conjunctivitis), pneumonia, acute respiratory distress, viral pneumonia, and other severe and life-threatening complications. There is no evidence that any human cases of avian influenza have been acquired by eating poultry products. There are numerous different strains of avian influenza; most circulate in wild birds, but only in some young waterbirds are infection rates sometimes high. These viruses are benign, and at worst cause only mild disease. These “Low Pathogenicity Avian Influenza” (LPAI) viruses also have only mild effects on poultry. The main carrier of the virus is migratory birds including poultry. Due to large number of import of livestock including fishes, it is the responsibility of the state health authorities to take stock of the requirement of remaining alert. So much money is spent each year on so many schemes but what is needed is not so much money but little money for the basics that go a long way in prevention of diseases.

Launched on December 3,1990. Nagaland Post is the first and highest circulated newspaper of Nagaland state. Nagaland Post is also the first newspaper in Nagaland to be published in multi-colour.

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