While States across India are struggling to contain the spread of Coronavirus, Kerala and Karnataka reportedly have another challenge in front of them - Bird Flu. On Monday alone, over 2,000 birds were culled in Kerala’s northern district of Kozhikode to keep the Avian influenza viruses at bay.
On Sunday, 25 teams of Rapid Response Teams (RRT) culled over 1,700 birds in the first phase after the virus was detected in two farms in the region. The State government has set up a control room to monitor the situation and also spread awareness. Those with questions or even with suspicion of the virus infecting birds have been asked to contact toll-free number 1077 and 0495 2762050.
As the culling and burning the carcass of poultry, ducks and other birds have begun, poultry shops in a 10 kilometre-radius of the where the first cases were reported from, have been ordered shut. Restaurants have been prohibited from serving chicken and the local panchayat is conducting awareness programs.
Mobile squads have been formed for inspections and several check posts have been created to scrutinise vehicles passing through the area. Vehicles travelling to and from Kerala to Karnataka and Tamilnadu are being sprayed with disinfectants as well.
The District Administration had pegged the total number of birds to be culled at 900 and so far over 3,600 of them have been culled. Advisory has been issued to those who handle poultry to wear masks and gloves while doing so and also stay away from bird excreta.
Bird Flu refers to strains of the influenza virus that essentially infect birds, but can be passed on humans as well. The flu can be contracted by humans when faeces or secretion from the nostrils or eyes of infected birds are directly touched. While common symptoms of the flu in humans are sore throat, cold, cough, fever, body pain etc, the virus can take from two to eight days to manifest.
The World Health Organization has described the symptoms of the Bird Flu as, "Avian influenza viruses normally spread between birds. However, some viruses have been found to infect humans. When avian influenza infects humans, symptoms may range from mild upper respiratory infection (fever and cough) to severe pneumonia, acute respiratory distress syndrome (difficulty breathing), shock and even death."
(Image Credits: PTI)