H5N1 Bird Flu Outbreak in Karnataka29 October 2012
INDIA - Officials are saying that the outbreak of H5N1 highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) has been "nipped in the bud".
With reports about the detection of avian influenza (bird flu) at the Central Poultry Development Organisation (CPDO) near Hessarghatta here, the State Health Department has stepped up vigil against the dreaded infection, reports The Hindu.
Calling upon people not to panic as the flu was only at the bird stage, M. Madan Gopal, Principal Secretary, Health and Family Welfare, told The Hindu on 26 October that "the flu that had made its presence known in a bird a fortnight ago was nipped in the bud".
"While there is no need to panic as the situation is not alarming, we want to assure people that the department is prepared to handle any emergency. We have adequate stocks of Tamiflu (oseltamivir phosphate), the medicine for flu," he said.
"Our doctors will conduct daily medical check-up of those who are involved in the culling operations. We have already started giving them prophylactic doses of Tamiflu as a preventive measure," Mr Madan Gopal said.
Shashidhar Buggi, Director of the Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Chest Diseases, said bird flu virus first transmits from bird to bird and then from bird to man.
"It can mutate and recombine with the already existing influenza virus in man modifying into a deadly strain. This can be transmitted from one human to another through air just like any other flu. But there is no need to panic as the flu detected in Hessarghatta is only at the bird stage," Dr Buggi explained.
Elaborating that the symptoms of bird flu are similar to that of any other flu, Dr Buggi continued: "Following these reports, it is normal for people to stop eating poultry. But if poultry is cooked properly before consumption, it is safe. People should follow proper hygiene to stay safe."
People staying close to poultry farms and those working in the farms should watch out for any symptoms of high fever, body ache, sore throat, headache and sneezing. They should immediately report to the health authorities if they get any such symptoms and stay away from work and other social functions, Dr Buggi told The Hindu.
Further ReadingGo to our previous news item on this story by clicking here.
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